There has been some noise recently in Australia about self storage industry disruption from peer-to-peer storage providers. Unsurprisingly, this noise often corresponds with capital raising efforts and web site launches. Consequently, I am frequently being asked for a view about the impact and risk to the industry.
I appreciate that by diminishing the impact, I may appear as the arrogant ignorant incumbent. Some may even see Kennards Self Storage as the likely Kodak of the self storage sector. None the less, here I go.
Recently one Australian self storage disrupter start-up, Spacer, has stated an ambition of growth to achieve 8-10% market share of the markets it operates in. It has also raised capital and successfully acquired a US peer known as Roost.
Spacer were not the first, joining a list of peer-to-peer storage disrupters who attempt to match people with some spare room with people who need more room. In principle, the idea seems sound and should get some traction.
What is old, is new again…
The idea of people renting out their spare space to others is not new. It has happened informally for decades. Word of mouth often enabled people to share their space with others that needed it.
In the past (well before the internet), The Trading Post (for those too young to know “The Trading Post” was a weekly newspaper publication that listed stuff for sale, wanted and for rent. It had literally everything you could imagine, even “Jousting Sticks!” It was available at every newsagent) had a section of “Garages to Rent/Wanted.” Moving forward, now in the digital era platforms like GumTree have an abundance of garages, sheds and storage spaces listed. This proves there is a market for peer-to-peer storage.
What these new peer-to-peer platforms are attempting to do is enhance the consumer experience with a slick tech solution.