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Worldwide Self Storage Industry – Fact Sheet

Jul 18 2017
World Map

Jack Moreth


The self storage industry is a rapidly growing industry worldwide. With its origins in the US, the concept of self storage has spread rapidly across Europe and Asia and the industry has grown exponentially since its first humble beginnings. It took the self storage industry more than 25 years to build its first billion square feet of space in the USA; it added the second billion square feet in just 8 years. This fact sheet will look into establishing the current state of affairs in the respective countries; United States of America, United Kingdom and Asia.

History of the Storage Industry

The first modern self storage industries opened their doors as recently as the 1960s. A largely US-based industry until the 1980s, the industry is now so large in the US that the Self Storage Association claims that it is physically possible that every American can stand – at the same time – under the total canopy of self storage roofing. The self storage industry has now been named as one of the fastest-growing sectors of the United States commercial real estate industry over the last 38 years.

Self storage first arrived in the UK in the 1980s, remaining largely located in London initially. However, this has since grown and expanded steadily across Britain.

The industry in Asia is considerably younger. With its beginnings a mere 10 years ago, it has grown at a fast rate. Hong Kong exemplifies this with 50 self storage facilities in the country, growing from just 2 facilities 10 years ago.

Yearly Turnover of The Self Storage Industry

  • USA: The last report in 2014 showed the self storage industry in the United States generating $27.2 billion in annual revenue.
  • UK: The estimated total turnover of the storage industry in 2016 was £540 million pounds.
  • Asia: It was reported that the Asian self storage industry was worth $300 million dollars in 2016.

Size of the Industries

US: There are 48,500 facilities in the US – an absolutely vast industry with 7.3 sq. ft. of self storage space available for every man, woman, and child in the nation.

UK: There are 1,430 facilities across the country, although this is probably an underestimation as there is no official register and small facilities in rural areas may not be recognised on account of limited marketing or online presence. The industry in the United Kingdom has 10 major players with occupancy rates increasing from 73.1 percent in 2015 to 75.8 percent in 2016 as lettable space grew by 1.7 million square feet to 42.2 million.

Asia: There are over 7,000 facilities across the continent, the majority of these are located in Japan and Hong Kong.

Total Rentable Self Storage Space

Distribution of Rentable Self Storage Space

US: The distribution of the industry in the US is more evenly spaced with 32% of facilities located in urban areas, 52% in suburban and 16% in rural areas. This likely reflects the age of the industry in the country as well as the population it serves.

UK: There are significant regional variances observed in the distribution of self storage space in the UK. The availability is twice the UK average per capita in the London area at 1.28 sq ft.

Asia: Japan has by far the most self storage facilities in Asia, with Hong Kong following close behind. China, Singapore, and the Philippines are much further behind but the industry has spread into these countries and is likely to take off in the near future.

Average Revenue Per Square Foot

  • US: $1.40 per square foot
  • UK: £22.68 per square foot
  • Asia: $10 per square foot

Due to the extensive space available in the USA, the costs per square foot are significantly lower than the UK and Asia. America now has more than four times as many self storage facilities as Starbucks locations. That’s right: 53,000 storage facilities to 12,000 Starbucks coffee shops, to 14,000 McDonald’s nationwide.

Number of Public Vs. Private Companies

There are 693 self storage businesses held privately in the United Kingdom. However, the USA has 4,500 private companies and 6 public corporations.

It is certainly notable from the above data that the US is by far the leader in the industry, but other regions have grown dramatically in size over the past 10 years with more growth predicted. These facts certainly reflect the fast rate of growth of the industry in each country.

For further information on the self storage industry in the USA, UK & Asia please see the references below: