At the SSA Fall Tradeshow last month in Las Vegas, NV, the topic of millennials and their anticipated effect on storage dominated many presentations, roundtables and discussions. The sector, which has relied on Baby Boomers and The Greatest Generation to fill units across the country for decades, now finds itself catering to the needs and wants of an entirely different group of customers. While millennials are still not the dominant user of self storage, they will be eventually and anyone with a connection to the industry must prepare accordingly.
Some takeaways from the conference:
1) The extension of the closet: In the past, the 10x10 has been the most used self storage unit size. Now, especially in millennial-heavy urban areas, unit size is trending significantly smaller. No longer is there the same need to store a bedroom’s worth of belongings; millennials just need a closet! Studies reflect today’s customer utilizing self storage to store seasonal clothes, rarely used personal belongings and mementos that might not fit in their increasingly smaller living spaces.
2) No contact is good contact: While older generations still rely on the personal contact of a store manager or a person on the phone to help them rent a unit, millennials are far more reliant upon their computers, tabletsand smartphones to find self storage facilities.
3) Decisions are quick: Because millennials can locate storage facilities in an instant with their fingertips, they can assess pricing, location and reviews (which are increasingly more important) much faster than in the past. This allows them to look at two or three facilities and decide on one in a matter of minutes.
As the majority of these millennials are hitting the work force, buying homes and starting families, the sector must understand and learn to accommodate an entirely new type of customer in order to succeed in this new world order.