Following a recent report from the property advisory company Cushman & Wakefield, it has been claimed that UK residents are likely to utilise self-storage four times more than the French and nine times more than Germans, and this is driving a boom in the self-store sector.

Apparently ‘Britain is now home to almost half of all of Europe’s self-storage units with almost 42.2 million sq ft of space in total, while growth in demand is continuing to outstrip supply’. Despite this, as we reported recently, the UK still lags well behind the US for availability of self-storage units.

The report states that last year, 24 new self-storage sites opened in the UK – the greatest number in any European country. Occupancy increased by almost three percentage points in the last 12 months, to 75.8%, despite more units being built.

Cushman & Wakefield’s report found that large self-storage brands in particular have been expanding rapidly in recent years to ensure a larger chunk of the £540m UK market.

One such major self-store operator, Safestore, said last week that record enquiries for its space continued to boost its profits. According to Inside Self Storage, in the recently released Safestore financial statement for the first half of its 2017 fiscal year the company reported growth in revenue, rental rates and occupancy at its self-storage facilities in France and the United Kingdom.

Total revenue for the period was up 12.4 percent to £62.6 million, with “like-for-like” growth for the group up 3.7 percent, using constant exchange rates in both operating regions. Same-store revenue in the U.K. grew 3.9 percent, while the company’s Paris business increased 2.9 percent compared to the same period in 2016.

Occupancy across the company’s portfolio was 69.8 percent at the end of the period, an increase of 1.1 percent. Same-store occupancy was 71.9 percent, an increase of 1.1 percent. U.K. occupancy was 68.1 percent, up 1.1 percent from a year ago. Rental rates across the U.K. portfolio increased 0.3 percent year over year, with same-store facilities increasing 1.7 percent.

Another major player in the industry, Big Yellow, has spoken of expansion across the South East in particular, indicating similar growth within its business.

Again according to Cushman & Wakefield, two thirds of self-storage customers are aged between 40 and 65 years old, and 81% are between 35 and 70, showing that younger people are the least likely to use store facilities, which it’s believed fits with the general trend among so-called millennials to settle down later in life.

Rennie Schafer, Chief Executive of the UK Self Storage Association, said: “The longest standing customer in the survey began renting their unit in 1987. Whilst that’s exceptional, 44% of business customers have stayed for three years or more, compared with 31% for personal customers.”