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UK Crowned Self-Storage Capital

Per, The Self-Storage Association UK Annual Industry Report (2017) just 1% of the UK population currently use self-storage facilities and a further 5% are considering it as an option.

However, this has not spoiled the demand in Europe; which now holds 3,104 self-storage facilities, totalling more than 90 million sq. ft. of space.

The industry is rapidly growing, yet, despite the growth in the number of self-storage facilities, more than 85% can be found in just six countries.

Over the past 12 months, notable growth has been witnessed in Germany, France, Spain and Sweden in particular. Currently, the UK holds the largest self-storage market (1,432 facilities), 47% of the total European share, followed closely by France (340), Spain (305) and the Netherlands (284.)


The UK also holds the greatest number of new storage units opening.

In fact, it is estimated the industry added 1.7 million sq. ft. of space last year, around 25% of which was added through expansion of existing stores, or the fitting out of previously unused space.

To date, there are 1,432 self-storage sites in the UK – offering approximately 42.2 million sq. ft. of space.

Household Use

Certainly, it may appear we – or the self-storage industry itself – are suspect about the space offered in our homes.

After all, research from Cambridge University did find that the UK’s newly built homes, at an average of 76 sq. m, are the smallest by floor area in all of Europe – and 55% of UK dwellings fall short of the accepted internal space standard entirely.

What’s more, further research by Riba found that more than half of the new homes under construction are too small to meet the needs of the people who buy them.

Though the housing White Paper published earlier this year suggests the government plans to review the current space standards in homes, as part of ensuring consumers are offered a wider and more affordable choice, it is apparent that currently there is a struggle for space taking place.

Reasons for Using Self-Storage

Per ONS, 79% of the UK’s population live in a house and 21% live in a flat or apartment.

Whilst one may presume it is those living in flats and apartments who are most likely to be pushed for space, and therefore more likely to consider the use of self-storage – as 31% do – it is also a huge concern for those in houses.

The desire for self-storage services in semi-detached homes stands at 26%; for terraced 17%, and remains high even for larger, detached properties, at 20%.

This being the case, decided to consider the reasons why property owners are interested in the use of self-storage facilities, as the answer to their space-saving qualms.


A healthy 40% of home-owners gave the simple answer of: there is no room for items at residence and, though 21% say they are moving  or selling homes and find themselves in-between properties, a further 11% claim they need to create more space in the family home.There are also some who are victims of repossession who need temporary storage spaces until they find a new home.

Other Considerations

Sell House Fast also decided to identify other considerations made by consumers when debating how to handle the overflow of their excess items. Self-storage units aside, the top two considerations were: a free option (16%) such as the use of a parent’s or friend’s home, followed by the renting of a local garage (13%.) 


For those who decide self-storage is the way forward, 89% will rent 1 unit and up to 11% will choose to rent multiple units.

Robby Du Toit, MD of Sell House Fast comments:

“Though just 1% of the UK population currently makes use of self-storage, it is apparent by the sheer number of the facilities already existing – and continuing to arise – that there is a space concern, in 2017.


The fact that the UK stands at the forefront of self-storage, with a massive 1,432 facilities at hand, also echoes sentiments of the housing crisis here in the UK. The houses built are not big enough; they are often not accessible to the majority, and even when they are, they are not fit for purpose.


More needs to be done to police this issue – as we all know. But, at least there are alternative options available to us – should we need the service."

feature photo credit: shutterstock/mervas

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