Saturday, February 9, 2013

Room to grow for self-storage facilities

Players report a 5-20% surge in demand leading up to Chinese New Year and expect uptrend to continue

Business Times - FEBRUARY 09, 2013

Chinese New Year's eve might traditionally have been the day for spring cleaning, but many Singaporeans have started to do their housekeeping weeks before.

Self-storage operators The Business Times spoke to are reporting a 5-20 per cent increase in demand for storage units since the start of the year, as locals turn to such facilities to do a spot of decluttering.

Lock+Store Self Storage, a company that has two branches islandwide, said it has seen a 20 per cent increase in its services since December last year.

At Store Friendly, a Hong Kong self-storage chain that established itself here in December 2011, there has been an increase in demand before Chinese New Year from around mid- January as well as a 20 per cent increase in enquiries over the previous quarter.

Its managing director, Jes Johansen, expects demand to continue even after the festive period. "We expect demand to stay strong up to Chinese New Year and will then see a slowdown for a week or two before renewed increase in demand," he said.

Other companies, such as Store-11, Extra Space, StorHub, and U-Store@SG, have seen a 5 per cent, 10 per cent, 15 per cent, and 20 per cent increase in demand for storage units, respectively.

Operators said users of their facilities can be generally divided into two groups: personal storers and business storers.

"People are storing everything from books to winter clothing to toys. As for commercial customers, many took up units to keep stocks in order to cope with higher demand in sales during this festive period," said Daphne Lim, marketing manager for Extra Space.

Demand for these facilities is likely to rise even after festive periods, in line with rising property prices and shrinking space in homes.

"With increased demand from smaller living spaces and still-high accumulation of stuff, we will continue to see strong demand and therefore are focused on overall building the business and less on short-term demand surges from festive spring cleaning," said Store Friendly's Mr Johansen.

Helen Ng, CEO of Lock+Store, also believes that the self-storage business will enjoy an upward trend.

According to Lock+Store's 2012 survey, which was conducted in collaboration with Colliers International, about 23.7 per cent of existing non self-storage users who responded to the survey are considering the services of a self-storage company within the next year.

Tan Hock Imm, 53, a storage user at Store Friendly's Alexandra branch, finds convenience in self-storage. "After clearing up the house, it is a great option to have since we always seem to have more and more stuff," Mr Tan said.

Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C

Senior Sales Director
DTZ Property Network Pte Ltd (L3007960A)


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