It got me thinking the other day when I visited Adelaide for a long weekend – is self storage still a big secret in Australia. I attended a couple of social functions and spent time catching up with friends that I had not seen in quite some time. The same for me as it is for a lot of people, life moves on, we drift apart and before you know it, it has been 20 years between drinks, so to speak. Inevitably the conversation soon gets around to “where have you been”, “what have you been doing” and so on. I recount my story of living in various states of Australia as my husband pursued his career in geology, however once we landed back in North Queensland (I grew up in the Cairns area) we fell into self storage. One thing led to another and now I find myself living and breathing self storage every day. Which leads me to the point of my story. I am surprised repeatedly by the conversation that ensues once I mention my involvement in the self storage industry. Of course, there is the immediate mention of the reality television show “Storage Wars” and that is usually the sum total of their knowledge. Fortunately, my friends manage to see through this type of television, none the less they are fascinated with the whole concept of self storage. So, I find myself describing in detail how self storage works, who uses it, why they use it and for how long.
So, it brings me to think about just how many people know, understand and therefore use the services of self storage in Australia. In the US research indicates that approximately 10% of households use self storage. Admittedly the industry was established more than 40 years ago and during that time it has developed into an everyday part of life. It is also helped when some county and civic laws prevent homeowners from storing possessions in their own open garages, as is the case in California.
Australia follows the US in market maturity, establishing some 30 years ago.
By comparison in Australia the last study that was done in 2013 indicated that between 3.5% to 4% of Australian households use self storage. We are a long way behind the usage in the US however this opens up massive opportunity for growth.
The big question is how to achieve this growth. Do we make storage more affordable, do we lobby to change some local council by-laws, or do we campaign to raise the awareness of self storage? It is a challenge for all of us in the storage game.
What is your view? Go to selfstorage.org.au/ssaa-poll and have your say. The poll closes on 15/1/18.