Warehousing across North America

The North American warehousing and storage market reached a value of US$74.2bn in 2019 and is projected to reach US$88.1bn by 2025, facilitated by the rapid expansion of online retail (IMARC).

As well as the ongoing changes to the retail market, an additional source of continued growth is the demand for outsourced warehousing services from manufacturing companies, which need to store and distribute both raw materials and finished goods.

Watch this video to find out more about warehousing and storage market trends in North America. 


The US market is extremely diverse, and is driven both by local economies and access to labour. With population densities increasing in many US cities, there is strong projected warehouse demand, particularly in key metropolitan areas featured in our index, including the hot markets of New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Houston.

In spite of the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, the US industrial markets have continued to report healthy figures during 2020, benefitting from increased online shopping.

Industrial clusters set to most benefit from their proximity to populous areas include Phoenix, California’s Inland Empire, central and northern New Jersey, along with the Pennsylvania distribution corridor (MH&L).

eCommerce continues to redefine retail, with online sales expected to increase by over 30 percent through to 2021. This is driving intense demand for last-mile, in-fill spaces and multi-storey warehouses near to major population centres. However, in most major metropolitan areas, there are growing challenges in finding locations for last-mile facilities.

One solution being looked to is the conversion of ‘big box’ stores and secondary malls vacated by failing retailers. Around 14 million square feet of big box retail space in the US has already been converted to industrial space (CBRE). However, such conversions have been hampered by zoning challenges, extensive remodelling requirements and transportation access issues, given that many retail stores are adjacent to residential areas.  

Despite strong growth forecasts, the warehousing and logistics sector could be adversely affected should the current trade tensions between the US and China worsen. Many developers will be waiting on the outcome of the upcoming presidential election before proceeding with major investments, as they will be waiting to see how the result impacts trade policy.


Canada continues to be a growth market for warehousing and logistics, underpinned by its vast natural resources sector. Warehouse and distribution facilities are seeing increased demand due to rising exports, coupled with relatively low transportation costs.

The logistics sector is being boosted by the Canadian government’s $2.1bn investment in the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative (TTCI) which is building stronger, more efficient transportation corridors to international markets through until 2028.

In large Canadian cities, available land is at a premium and vacant industrial space is at near historic lows. Of the seven North American markets that are predicted to register more than 10 percent warehouse rent growth from 2020 to 2021, the top three are Canadian (C&W): Toronto (27.9 percent), Montreal (25.0 percent) and Vancouver (21.9 percent).

Big investments are being made by Canadian players in the automation and densification of facilities. Oxford Properties Group recently unveiled its plans to develop Canada’s first large-bay, multi-level industrial property.

For further information contact:

Whitney Villalobos
Vice President
e: [email protected]
t: +1 303 589 9762

Go to the main warehouse cost index 2020 page