The 8 Key Drivers Behind Self-Storage Usage in 2024

Declutterers, downsizers and divorcees. The humble self-storage unit serves them all – and more! In this blog, we take a look at the self-storage scene and the main reasons motivating people to hire out a store in 2024.


Why are people hiring self-storage units?

Your customer base has diverse needs. Each will require something different from a self-storage unit - from the size of the store to the length of tenure. Some may prefer a climate-controlled unit, while others prioritise indoor storage over outdoor options. Security measures also weigh heavily in the decision-making process for some. You need to ensure that you’re tailoring your marketing to appeal to each group of customers.

1. Moving home:

The 2024 SSA report uncovered the need for self-storage and unsurprisingly 32% were move-related. That’s nearly a third of your customers using your units due to a property move.

Home-movers will always be key customers for self-storage businesses. During a move, people often require temporary storage solutions until they settle into their new home. To avoid losing a buyer, some people sell their home and then move in with family or rent accommodation while they wait for their new property to become available. Self-storage units act as a great option to securely store items during the transition period. Moving home is stressful. For some, the convenience of self-storage units offers the opportunity to pack belongings gradually, easing the pressure of last-minute rushes.

Due to the cost-of-living crisis, many people are downsizing and may no longer have space for all their belongings in their new property. In fact, the SSA reported on this very trend, stating that 16% of people used self-storage because they were moving and didn’t have enough room in their new homes. Newbuilds are also seemingly getting smaller in size, so anyone going from an older property to a new one may have excess furniture that no longer fits in their new home.

2. Significant life events:

Life-changing events and life transitions can trigger someone to use a self-storage unit for the first time. A death in the family is the biggest reason according to the SSA. It may be that an elderly family member moves into a family home to be cared for and all their belongings need to go into storage. The birth of a new baby can also trigger the need for storage facilities as couples make room for their new arrival.



Twelve per cent of those surveyed in the latest SSA industry report marked a significant life event as their reason behind obtaining storage space. Relationship breakdowns also require the need for storage. According to Storeganise, self-storage usage doubles among newly divorced or separated households.

3. Renovation:

Homeowners undergoing a renovation or an extension may need to temporarily store their furniture to protect them from dust, damage and debris until the work is completed. Of those surveyed in the SSA report, 24% stated that their home was being re-decorated, and they needed to store their belongings whilst the work was being carried out.


4. Declutterers:

Then there’s the anti-hoarders! According to the SSA report, a whopping 29% stated that the reason they hired a self-storage unit was to create more space at home. Decluttering opens and freshens up spaces for a more organised and peaceful living environment. In fact, Hold, a self-storage business in London uses this very message in their marketing. They encourage homeowners to store belongings out of the home to “promote feelings of calm and relaxation,” and to improve mental health. We all know that feeling after a big spring clean or a decluttering session. Chaos has been banished and your home just feels a lot nicer and – well - homely!

The UK is a tiny island packed with nearly 67 million residents. Many people are living on top of each other, and siblings are sharing bedrooms. According to the Overcrowded Housing (England) report from the House of Commons Library, overcrowding has a “detrimental effect on physical and mental health.” Like Hold, you can use this messaging of decluttering giving you a better home environment when you promote your business to prospective customers.

Rapidly increasing rent prices and unaffordable mortgages are pushing people into smaller properties and with homes decreasing in size every decade since the 1950s, there’s ample opportunity to go after those decluttering. After all, renting out a self-storage unit is a lot cheaper than buying a new home – and that’s the angle you can take in your marketing communications.

5. Those working from home:

The pandemic unleashed the work-from-home genie out of the bottle – and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, with plenty of businesses embracing hybrid working or fully remote solutions. Many people look to create extra space in their homes for a dedicated work desk. The number of people doing so actually increased from 8.9% to 12% in 2024 according to SSA. It’s difficult to get your head into work when you’re sitting on the couch or propped up on the dining table. A dedicated workspace helps people set boundaries between work and home life and gives them a structured environment to focus, minimising distractions. This is another valuable marketing message you could send out to customers. That spare room or cluttered corner of the lounge could easily be transformed into a work-from-home haven if the homeowner reorganises the space.

6. Business storage:

Another customer that remains key is businesses that use self-storage units to store their excess inventory, equipment and documents. It’s a cost-effective solution for businesses that need extra space or want to expand, and it eliminates the need for costly leasing of larger commercial space.

7. Travellers:

Those (lucky) people who are setting off travelling often need a place to store their belongings while they’re away. These customers can rent out units for months at a time making them a great target to go after. Students studying abroad may also need storage space to temporarily squirrel away their books and belongings.

8. Collectors:

Collectors, hobbyists, and enthusiasts may require self-storage space for their equipment, tools and collections. This group may be motivated by a climate-controlled unit to keep their hoard in tip-top condition.



Who are likely to be your main self-storage customers?

An older demographic:

Storeganise stated that the majority of self-storage clients (87%) are over 35, and nearly half (42%) are in the 50–65 age range. The SSA report similarly stated that 42% of self-storage customers are 50-64 years old.


Those nearby to your facility:

Storeganise reported that most people favour nearby self-storage providers and choose a unit within 30 minutes of their home. This means you should be targeting your advertising towards the local community. The SSA found that people will tend to only travel within a 15-mile radius, so this gives you a good range to target new customers. In fact, 53% of customers surveyed only travelled less than 15 minutes to their self-storage unit. Remember, people are unlikely to travel past another self-storage unit to get to yours, so make sure you know exactly where your competitors have units so you don’t waste marketing spend going after customers that would more likely use a rival as they’re closer.


How can TwentyCi's MoverAlerts help boost your self-storage business in 2024?

Home-movers and home improvers are a big customer base for self-storage businesses. TwentyCi’s MoverAlerts has access to this audience. We track 99.6% of all residential property moves. We can provide you with address leads so you can contact these home-movers and offer your self-storage service. If you’re too busy to reach out, we also offer direct mail fulfilment (sending out moving company flyers and postcards), so we can contact these prospective customers on your behalf.

We have insights into where people are in their house-moving journey, enabling you to pinpoint your marketing efforts precisely when they’re considering your services. You can choose to target those that have completed and may need temporary storage while they’re between properties or to make the moving process less stressful. You can target those who are at the For Sale stage and may want to declutter to attract buyers. We even have a Likely-to-Instruct AI model that is 50% accurate. This allows you to target people before they have even instructed their home for sale. It's common for people to undergo a decluttering phase before putting their homes on the market, ready for viewers and estate agent photographs.

That’s not all. We can also help you to target those at the Fallen Through or Withdrawn stage. These homemovers may opt to stay put rather than relocate. They may need self-storage to enhance the appeal of their property. Those who have had properties Fallen Through may also decide to store their belongings away to make the property more attractive to potential buyers if they still intend on selling.

What’s more, MoverAlerts by TwentyCi has access to planning application data. We can connect you with those who are having an extension and may need to store their furniture and belongings away in the interim. This includes not only those with approved planning applications but also those whose applications have been declined. A homeowner seeking an extension indicates the need for additional space. In the event of a declined application, just like the ‘improve rather than move’ demographic, they may opt to store belongings to maximise available space instead.

Have we piqued your interest? Are you looking to get more self-storage leads? Get in touch with us today to find out how our self-storage lead addresses (a form of moving company lead generation) can give your business a boost.