The self-storage sector in Europe: looking back at 2021 and forward to 2022

10/06/2022

The end of 2021 is approaching fast. A good time to recap the progress of the self-storage sector in Europe. In this blog we comment on the most noteworthy data from the 2021 report by FEDESSA (Federation of European Self Storage Associations) and outline our expectations for 2022.

CONTINUOUS GROWTH

In the past decade, the number of self-storages in Europe has tripled. Today, Europe (including the UK) has some 5,173 sites. With an increase in the number of sites compared to last year, the total area of self-storage also increased to almost 11 million m². Per European today, there is an average of 0.022 m² of self-storage. Belgium ranks just below this average, in the Netherlands it is more than double.

So the self-storage sector is clearly still growing in Europe. To put these figures in a better context, we can compare them with data from the United States. In the most mature self-storage market of the world, the total surface area of self-storage is 1.9 billion sq ft. or some 176.5 million m². This equates to 5.9 sq. ft. or 0.548 m² per American (source: 2021 Self Storage Almanac).

Both markets have their specificalities, but the fact is that Europe has a much higher population density than the United States (112 inhabitants per km² versus 36 inhabitants per km² (source: World Bank). Space per capita is therefore more scarce in Europe and will more often than not lead to a need for additional storage space outside.

The responses from the 100 operators who participated in the FEDESSA report alone show that more than 100 new facilities are currently being built, with another 53 in the pipeline. Further growth of the self-storage sector in Europe therefore appears to be a certainty in 2022.

OCCUPANCY RATE - TYPES OF TENANTS - RENTAL PRICES

The average occupancy rate in Europe increased last year by 1.7% to 81.5%. This is higher than in February 2020, just before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. One explanation may well be that during the various lockdowns, many people were confronted with items that took up too much space in their homes and found a solution in self-storage.

An interesting observation is that the percentage of professional tenants fell from 32% to 27%. This is the opposite of the evolution we have seen in recent years. It is likely that the economic impact of COVID-19 for (small) companies has played a role in this. With the economy recovering, it remains to be seen whether we return to the trend of an ever-increasing number of professional tenants. Small businesses and start-ups - with special attention to those active in the e-commerce sector - remain an interesting target audience for self-storages. Tip: A flex office with Wi-Fi in your self-storage helps you to attract these types of tenants.

Besides the occupancy rate, the average rental price went up as well. Whereas in 2020 this amounted to EUR 250 per m² per year, it rose to EUR 268 per m² per year in 2021. This increase of more than 7% is also the largest increase reported by FEDESSA in the past 10 years.

With the expectation that the occupancy rate as well as the rental prices will remain the same or even increase slightly, the vast majority of the self-storage companies surveyed in the FEDESSA report have a positive outlook for 2022.

ONLINE PRESENCE - BOOK YOUR BOX

Perhaps the most eye-catching statistic -and at the same time not so surprising- is the evolution of the online presence of the sector.

Based on the FEDESSA report, we note that self-storages are increasingly aware of the importance of reaching and serving tenants online. Whereas in 2019 only 74% of self-storages surveyed published their prices on their website, by 2021 this already stood at 82%. The possibility of reserving a unit via the website rose from 71% to 80% in the same period. At 58% of the self-storages surveyed, tenants can reserve a unit today and also pay via the website. In 2019, this was only 25%.

Joining Book Your Box is obviously a very easy way to join this online trend. FEDESSA already announced: "The trend towards greater online functionality and more sophisticated platforms has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic." As a unique online marketplace for the rental of self-storage storage space, Book Your Box is such a trendsetter. We bring the concept of self-storage closer to the online audience and provide a platform on which a tenant can immediately search, compare and book his self-storage unit. This way you save on your own website and online marketing costs and you only pay when you actually rent a unit through our marketplace.

Book Your Box is the right forum to put your self-storage on the map and attract new tenants in 2022! Register here!

 

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash