Millenials And Self Storage
“Lazy, entitled, narcissists.” Three words I hear most commonly associated with Millienials. Although this may be true to a certain extent for a vast majority of my generation, you’re seeing Millenials all wrong. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of their personality traits, you should be focusing on how much money they’re going to make your self storage business.
So what makes my generation so unique, and what does it have to do with self storage? The Millenial generation (currently 18-34), also known as Generation Y, has experienced numerous unique shifts throughout our lifetime. From the invention of the mainstream internet (think AOL.com dial-up days), to ringing in a new millennium, to the introduction of smart phones, and the atrocious economic setbacks of the DotCom and Real Estate Bubbles, respectively, we’ve been a part of some pretty monumental events. On top of these monumental events, we have also set some monumental records:
-$1 Trillion in student debt [Bloomberg]
-Average Gen Y carries $45k in personal debt [PNC]
-By 2018 Gen Y will eclipse Boomers in spending power at $3.39 trillion [Oracle]
-Nearly 1/3 have put off marriage or having a baby due to the recession [Pew Research]
While all of these facts are substantial contributing factors to the future of self storage, my favorite factoid was from a study produced by The Council of Economic Advisers to the White House. The study reflected on the downward trend of home ownership for Millenials. Given that Gen Y has seen the first-hand effects of the real estate bubble, tried to get a [decent] job out of college during the recession [and failed], and carries an ungodly amount of debt – home ownership is one of the last things on our mind. As Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell put it, “Millennials are delaying all kinds of major life decisions, like getting married and having kids, so it makes sense that they would also delay buying a home.”
With these major life decisions on pause, it seems Millenials are also now the Generation of Uncertainty. Last time I checked, self storage thrives off of times of uncertainty! Buying later (renting longer), under-employment (living with Mom and Dad), changing jobs numerous times (moving), going back to school (more moving), and backpacking through Southeast Asia for a year (can you say prepayment?) are all factors that bode extremely well for self storage – and they are all becoming extremely commonplace nowadays. With roughly 83 million in Generation Uncertainty, it seems as though we have a very promising demand for self storage for years to come.
-By John C. Lindsey