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Since 2017, Home Innovation Research Labs has asked a detailed set of questions about garage and closet storage purchases in its Annual Consumer Practices Survey. As data was compared from the 2018 and 2019 surveys, with about 2,300 U.S. households reporting, interesting trends were revealed.

Each year, about 2.3 million U.S. households purchase closet storage systems, including those in bedrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchen pantries. The 2019 study found that about 108 million linear feet of closet and garage storage were installed in U.S. homes. And, while the storage system market is largely do-it-yourself currently, we expect professionally installed closet and garage systems to continue to grow in popularity.

While there was no growth in the number of households purchasing closet, pantry, and laundry room storage systems between the two most recent annual studies, we found that each purchasing household purchased more—increasing from an average of 15 linear feet of closet system to 18 linear feet. Bedroom closets saw the smallest gain, and laundry room storage saw the biggest.

For garage storage systems, the total number of purchasing households increased by 8% year over year, and linear feet of garage storage grew from 13 to 15 linear feet per household. Ceiling storage—perhaps the last frontier when all viable wall space is occupied—saw the biggest percentage increase at 28%.

The year-over-year change for storage solutions shows that homeowners are trying to get the most out of their existing (and possibly limited) space for their belongings. Several demographic drivers could be at play.

First, there are more multigenerational households now than a decade ago—adult children are staying longer, and aging parents are moving into the homes of their adult children. This, and other combining of households, leads to competition for storage space.

The increasing popularity of open floor plans continues to contribute to the growing need for storage space—open floor space in the main living area diminishes the number of interior walls and the closets and cabinets that may have been part of those walls in other configurations.

Based on the most recent report, clothes seem to be the primary focus for new closet storage. Nearly three-quarters of all storage systems include hanging rods and bars; more than half include cabinets with shelves (many with doors and drawers); and more than one-third integrate shoe storage.

Over the past year, we saw manufactured wood (primarily particleboard and MDF) catch up with metal rods, hangers, and shelves as the most popular material for closet storage systems. Natural lumber, the more costly option, has a healthy 16% share.

The latest Annual Consumer and Builder Practices Surveys to account for product and materials selections for homes in 2019 has just been mailed out. For manufacturers looking to unpack more of this type of data, visit Home