Self storage as a consumer service concept has proven to work in areas wherever there has been growth in the middle class. As individuals move upward into the middle class they have more disposable income and their improved standard of living leads to greater expectations. These new expectations include greater access to education and health services as well as to physical goods. This has been the case in the USA and Europe and self storage is now establishing itself in Asia as a vital service in countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
With more disposable income and higher living standards inevitably come more items for the home. With property prices worldwide increasing and affordability to upsize to larger properties becoming more difficult, properties become more cluttered. Self storage has grown wherever there is an expanding middle class as a solution to the need for more space for the goods people own.
With the growth of the middle classes in South East Asia, self storage will follow. The self storage industry has established itself in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan but in other countries in the region it is either nonexistent or limited. While the US has over 2.3 billion square foot of rentable self storage, a space equivalent to 3 times the size of Manhattan Island or 17 sq ft of rentable storage space per middle class person in the US, the middle class population in South East Asia is estimated to be 81 million with only an estimated 3,000 facilities and 126 million sq ft of rentable storage space. This equates to 1.55 sq ft of rentable storage space per middle class person. To get to the size of the US market and provide the middle classes with the same storage space per middle class citizen South East Asia rentable storage space needs to grow by 996%.
Another way to illustrate the difference is to say the US has 30,762 soccer pitches worth of storage space, with each pitch being shared by 4,387 middle class citizens. In Asia there are only 1,639 soccer pitches to store items, and each pitch is shared by 49,420 middle class citizens.
This inequality will grow in future years as the middle class in Asia grows more quickly than in the US. It has been predicted that Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam will become predominately middle class within 10-15 years.
Learn more about this market and the growth opportunity at the upcoming Self Storage Expo Asia 2014. The Self Storage Expo Asia is the only event for the self storage industry in this region. Bringing together prospective and existing self storage operators, investors, suppliers, and vendors for two days of sessions and networking. The Self Storage Expo Asia will be held in Hong Kong on the 26th and 27th March, 2014 and is an opportunity to understand how you can advance in this lucrative industry.