Every sector of the economy has felt the impact of the pandemic. Many businesses saw a decline in demand for their product or service while others surged. For self storage, understanding the impact COVID had on the industry took until year two of the pandemic, and it ended up being a boon.
Factors like remote working have had a large impact on demand for self storage; people hear to clear out space in their home to work, and others took advantage by moving to a new place because it no longer matters where they work from. An estimated 45% of the US workforce is now working remotely either full time or part time. This change in the economy is reflected in search demand for self storage terms.
All Storage Terms
2021 marked a banner year for self storage in Google search with unprecedented demand across the United States. How unprecedented? In the past five years, 25 of the top 30 performing weeks were in the first half of 2021 according to Google Trends*.
From a year-over-year perspective, self storage Google searches increased 22%. This increase was fueled by unprecedented growth from January – August YOY. Demand then slowed in September only to normalize toward the end of the year.
The top states for self storage searches** in 2021 were:
States with the largest increases for storage searches YOY were:
- Hawaii (+31%)
- Rhode Island (+22%)
- South Dakota (+18%)
- Kansas (+14%)
- Missouri (+13%)
States that saw the most decreases for storage searches YOY were:
- North Dakota (-36%)
- Montana (-15%)
- Wyoming (-14%)
- Arkansas (-13%)
- Washington (-12%)
On average, searches for RV storage terms increased by 24% from 2020 to 2021. Most of this gain came from the first half of the year when there was a clear decline in early 2020, even before the pandemic really hit. The largest spike of the year came during July 2021 where the last week of the month was the best-performing week of the year. Demand has historically fallen as we move from fall to winter.
The top states for RV storage terms in 2021 were:
- New Mexico
States with the largest increases for RV storage searches YOY were:
- Arkansas (+129%)
- Massachusetts (+125%)
- Louisiana (+115%)
- Iowa (+94%)
- Kansas (+68%)
States with the largest decreases for RV storage searches YOY were:
- Delaware (-46%)
- Alaska (-45%)
- Kentucky (-44%)
- Rhode Island (-43%)
- West Virginia (-42%)
Boat storage searches increased 9% from 2020 to 2021, fueled largely by a big surge in March 2021. March 2020 was the lowest point of the last two years. Historically boat storage demand has decreased from fall into winter.
The top states for boat storage terms in 2021 were:
States with the largest increases for boat storage searches YOY were:
- Montana (+185%)
- Mississippi (+115%)
- West Virginia (+113%)
- Massachusetts (+83%)
- Kansas (+81%)
States that saw the largest decreases YOY for boat storage terms were:
- Rhode Island (-82%)
- District of Columbia (-60%)
- Arkansas (-39%)
- Delaware (-35%)
- Alaska (-23%)
Looking Ahead to 2022
In 2022, we expect self storage searches to normalize some, with demand decreasing to previous pre-pandemic levels. Keeping pace with 2021 will be difficult, as many of the drivers that caused an inflated 2021 will subside as the country continues to ease pandemic-related restrictions. Things still look bright for self storage in 2022, however, due to factors like population growth and migration.
To help keep some of this natural normalization from impacting your business, having your digital marketing buttoned up for this year is important. Our self storage marketing experts at Go Local can help you navigate the changes we expect to see in 2022. Request a free marketing analysis from our teams today.
Summing Up Self Storage’s Year in Search for 2021
2021 was a banner year for self storage terms in Google search powered by an outstanding first half of the year. On average, storage terms increased 22% YOY. At Go Local Interactive, our self storage clients saw an average increase of 32% in site traffic YOY in 2021. That’s 10% higher than the average increase in demand for storage terms in Google during the same timeframe. What kind of growth did your storage facility’s website receive in 2021?
*Note: This analysis was done using Google Trends. Google Trends normalizes data by dividing each data point by the total searches in a given time frame, geography, or subject to give its relative popularity. A score of 100 indicates maximum volume based on a topic’s proportion of all searches on a topic. This analysis was done in the storage category so all data shown is in relation to all storage searches on Google.
**Note: All self storage terms are measured by the self storage topic in Google Trends. Topics are a group of terms that share the same concept in any language. For example, if you search the topic “London,” your search includes results for topics such as “Capital of the UK” and “Londres,” which is “London” in Spanish.