2021 Self-Storage Industry Projections

Last year was a tough one for businesses and the economy, but the self-storage industry, which has a long history of being recession-resistant, saw considerable growth. So far, this trend has continued in 2021, with new jobs, population increases and high occupancy rates all contributing to self-storage growth and the ongoing success of the industry.

These days, owners of self-storage facilities are seeing sky-high occupancy rates. The average cost of renting a storage unit has also surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Self-storage business owners are also seeing a shift in terms of the types of storage spaces renters desire, and many are updating their buildings or adding new ones to accommodate them.

Industry Trends

Increasingly, renters of self-storage spaces are seeking out climate-controlled storage spaces and those that accommodate boats, vehicles or RVS. RV sales spiked sharply during the pandemic as many Americans shunned air travel. With the increase in RV sales came an increase in RV owners who needed safe, secure places to store them and help preserve their resale value.

Climate-controlled storage spaces have also exploded in popularity, and this is particularly true in areas prone to extreme temperatures or high humidity. Renters storing valuable or irreplaceable items often prefer climate-controlled self-storage units due to the high degree of protection and peace of mind they provide.

The need for additional storage space is growing especially rapidly in lower-cost cities, as population and migration growth continue to flourish in more affordable areas. In 2020, self-storage occupancy rates held steady at around 92%, and self-storage market insiders expect this trend to continue throughout the remainder of 2021 and beyond.

Ease of Operations

Renters of storage units are also increasingly looking for self-storage business that utilize modern technology and make the process of renting, accessing and paying for storage easier. To accommodate this growing demographic, many owners of self-storage units are adopting new technologies that streamline the processes of renting and paying for units.

In addition to offering online leasing and payment methods, many self-storage facility owners are also appeasing self-storage demand by adding infrastructure onsite in the form of self-service kiosks that dispense keys or locks.

Mom-and-Pop Self-Storage Successes

The self-storage industry also continues to be lucrative for owners of smaller, mom-and-pop self-storage facilities. This year, the top six publicly traded self-storage companies controlled only about a fifth of the self-storage marketplace. Meanwhile, smaller, independent operators owned and controlled 71% of the nation’s self-storage businesses.

The self-storage market is among today’s most resilient, and 2021’s projections suggest there is no slowdown in sight. Owners of storage facilities and entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on growing self-storage demand may be able to attract a broader demographic and maintain higher occupancy rates by enhancing technologies, offering climate-controlled storage spaces or renting units that easily accommodate boats, vehicles and RVs.

Self-Storage Projects


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