Self storage continues to gain popularity for both homeowners and renters. Perhaps not as glamorous as others, the industry is one that grew steadily in response to pandemic needs as people reorganized homes to create room for work-from-home offices, virtual learning spaces, or both.
A recent survey by StorageCafe found that 38 percent of Americans reported being self storage users in 2021. This number isn’t shocking because of COVID-19 trends. Breaking it down by generation, Gen Xers (54 percent) and baby boomers (51 percent) are the most likely to be self storage users, but Millennials are starting to show a heightened interest, with 41 percent now declaring themselves to be users of the service.
And living in a spacious home doesn’t rule out the desire for self storage. Residents of medium-sized homes (1,500–2,499 square feet and 2,500–3,500 square feet) make up the largest groups of self storage users, with about 42 percent of residents living in two- and three-bedroom homes. This is largely due to the growing size of the American household. The more members per household, the greater the likeliness that self storage will be used.
So what are people storing? One in three Americans say furniture, according to the survey, followed by clothing for renters and home appliances for homeowners. Not too far behind are sporting items and hobby gear, and business items. Vehicles, RVs and boats were stored the least.
State-wise, Idaho and Utah claim the most self storage users, consisting of 59 and 54 percent, respectively. And it comes as no surprise. Both states have attracted large groups of new residents in recent years, Idaho being the fastest-growing state in the country. According to U.S. Census data, Idaho experienced a population spike of nearly three percent in 2020. Baby boomers make up the main age group of self storage users in both states.
Though implications of COVID-19 certainly played a part in the industry’s recent popularity, it’s of course not the only thing contributing to its growth. The survey found that downsizing is the main reason Americans turn to storage outside of the home.
The growing demand for the service is consequently driving prices, the national average price now $127 per month, up 6.7 percent year-over-year.