Self-Storage Indicators: The Walmart Effect

Posted by James McLean on Jul 3, 2024 8:54:31 AM

Self-storage developers love to look at certain indicators as part of their new location strategy. Housing permits, population growth, traffic counts, and shopping habits are several that seem to come up in many conversations with industry leaders. The concept being that these indicators point to areas of higher population growth or spending, which in turn would lead to more storage demand.


Some of the more interesting indicators that we’ve heard about revolve around Amazon, Walmart and, most recently, chip factories. The “CHIPS and Science Act” one in particular has been coming into play since it is a government initiative that is throwing billions of dollars at chip manufacturers in an effort to have them build local, US-based factories.


More factories + more jobs = more storage needs.


Follow the build into the city of origin and erect a self storage facility – the renters will follow closely behind.


It's no wonder that Amazon uses code names – Project Perl, Project Bluebird – during the construction portion of any new fulfillment build-out. They know with certitude that the new center will supply jobs, which again translates to population growth and eventually more self storage needs.


Not everyone can keep an eye on every press release or municipal minutes and then try to interpret the possibility of new construction. One interesting solution is the Walmart Effect. You may not be able to find out when a new Walmart is being built, but it stands to reason that most Walmarts are in very stabilized – even possibly high growth – areas. Looking for new locations? Follow the Walmarts, research the area using a tool like Radius+ and see if the location meets your buy box.


Want to map out Walmart locations nationwide? No problem. Sign up for, and attend, an Info Demo with Radius+ for your National Map of Walmarts. If you hurry, you might be able to get Amazon Fulfillment centers added to the map!





James McLean is a market analyst for New York City-based Union Realtime, the developer of Radius+, a comprehensive site selection and location intelligence platform for self-storage