Individuals needing more space for hobbies and remote working, as well as businesses reconfiguring office spaces or stocking goods, have fuelled demand for self-storage spaces.
Self-storage providers witnessed a jump in take-up rates and enquiries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Channel News Asia (CNA).
This comes as more people realise that they need more space at home for new hobbies and for remote working.
Increased demand for such spaces was also seen from businesses rethinking their office space needs or those stocking up on goods to protect themselves from supply chain disruptions.
Helen Ng, Chief Executive at Lock+Store, shared that while demand plummeted during the circuit breaker period last year, with enquiries dropping 90% between April and June 2020, demand picked up after Singapore exited the lockdown.
Enquiries from businesses have since increased 20% and 30% from individuals, she said, adding that a half of the businesses and a third of the individuals eventually took up storage spaces.
With the hike in demand, Lock+Store has expanded its 12 Singapore facilities to three more popular locations.
Singapore’s first such operator in 2003, StorHub Self Storage said sales grew by more than 35% since the start of last year, while enquiries soared 110%.
It expanded to two new locations this year, bringing its number of Singapore facilities to 13.
StorHub’s Singapore CEO Luigi La Tona said the pandemic “changed the rules of the game”.
“People used to see self-storage as a nice-to-have. It’s now a need-to-have,” she added as quoted by CNA.
Work+Store, which opened its 10th storage facility in Singapore in August, said take-up rates by businesses increased by 50% compared to pre-pandemic days, while take-up rates by individuals climbed 10%.
Extra Space Asia, on the other hand, saw take-up rates and enquiries increase by around 30% to 40% since early 2020, with demand from businesses “being slightly higher”.
In fact, overall occupancy rates at its 11 locations increased from 87% in 2019 before the pandemic to 93%.
“The pandemic has not affected our business as storage is essential for many, be it for personal use or business use, although the reasons for needing storage have changed slightly,” said Kenneth Worsdale, Chief Executive at Extra Space Asia, as quoted by CNA.
Industry players explained that self-storage spaces have already been gaining popularity because of various factors like the lack of space in smaller houses.
However, the rise of the work from home trend has forced more people to seek out additional storage for their bulky furniture and unused items such as luggage.
“Being encouraged to work from home, people hope to recreate that ergonomic environment they had in their offices with a proper desk and chair, and that takes space. If that’s the case, things that you may only need every once in a while will be going into storage,” said La Tona as quoted by CNA.
Some are also decluttering their homes to suit new pandemic hobbies, which require items such as bicycles, cooking and baking equipment, golf clubs and wine. StorHub’s wine storage facilities has even registered a near 200% hike in demand.
For businesses, the demand arises from a need to resize to cope with the uncertainties brought by the pandemic and the accelerated growth in e-commerce.
Global supply chain concerns also prompted many businesses to stock up ahead of the year-end festive season.
Demand also comes from businesses needing to downsize or close amid the pandemic.
“These storers are often unable to dispose their assets and do not want to throw them away in the hope that they may be able to begin business again once there is more certainty in the economic future,” said Worsdale.
Cheryl Chiew, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this story, email: email@example.com.