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Burning Questions

The Impact of COVID-19 on the NYC Moving & Storage Industry

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted people all over the world. New Yorkers, especially, have experienced a significant change in daily life.

Many of our favorite restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues have shut down or are open but with limiting capacity. This has caused many people in the city to lose their jobs, while others are either working jobs deemed essential, working remotely or altogether leaving the city. In terms of the moving & storage industry in New York City, we have seen some significant changes and trends. One thing that’s clear to anyone in the city, is that a major chunk of the population has left. But there’s reason to believe that they’ll be back.

Moving Companies Are Busier Than Ever As Many People Have Opted to Leave NYC

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As reported by the New York Times, New York City saw upwards of 5% of its population leave the city between March & May of 2020. The exodus seems to have continued since then, perhaps at an even greater rate. For those in the moving and storage industry, this means our busiest time of year just got a whole lot busier. The moving industry has a natural boom during the warmer months. People tend to avoid moving in the cold and snow, so the summer was already expected to be a strong season. Add in the mass exodus of people out of the city, and what we have experienced as a locally-owned moving company has been overwhelming. We’ve received hundreds or thousands of requests over the past several months from people looking to relocate out of the city. Long distance moving requests were up over 200% since last year.

Many of the People Who Left the City Might Not Be Gone Long-Term, Opting to Leave Their Belongings in Storage as the Pandemic Unfolds

woman wearing face mask

It’s true that the summer of 2020 saw an exodus of New Yorkers like we’ve never seen before. But based on our experience, it’s likely many of those people will be back sometime over the next few years. If we’re lucky, we could see an influx back into the city as soon as Spring 2021. Many of the people we helped move out of the city this year fall into three categories:

  1. Young adults moving back in with their families all over the East coast
  2. Wealthy families deciding to live full-time in their second homes
  3. Families with kids moving to the suburbs in the tri-state area

Perhaps families with young kids who relocated to the suburbs won’t be moving back to the city anytime soon. But the other two groups are more likely to return. We helped many of these people move their belongings into storage units in the city or close by. The number of moves we completed that included a stop at a storage unit is up roughly 20% this year. From what we’ve heard from our clients, many of them intend to return to the city when it is safe to do so. They’re simply keeping their belongings safe in storage until the time comes.

map of New York City