Despite being less than 1% of total office space across the entire country, the U.S. market for flexible space is now the largest in the world, according to a recent U.S. Market Summary by global flexible workspace specialist The Instant Group.
The firm’s recent U.S. Market Summary: The Pioneers and the Pathfinders, reported on Instant’s findings on the growth of flexible workspace across the U.S., as the flexible workspace industry responds to key opportunities in how work is changing.
The report found that growth in the flex space market is due to openings in secondary and tertiary markets, and new players such as franchising and landlords coming into the market. According to Instant Group, if rural and smaller-town growth continues at the same rate, it can be expected that there will be more than 10,000 flex locations in the country by 2023, making the U.S., by far, the largest flex market in the world.
Other findings included the existence of a diversifying, not consolidating market. Despite most news coverage focusing on a small number of leading flexible workspace providers, such as WeWork, Knotel and Industrious, the industry remains highly fragmented and complex, thanks to the entrepreneurial nature of many providers.
The 10 largest operators now make up 36% of the market in the U.S., which is less market share than they had in the prior 12 months, according to Instant Group.
The report also noted the emergence of consulting and legal firms into the flex market.
In 2019, consulting firms overtook tech and finance in flex by the highest volume of deals closed for flexible space. This year also saw the entry of legal firms into flex, compared to their virtual nonexistence in the space in 2018.
The fastest-growing markets for flex space in 2019 were Georgia, Washington, DC and Ohio.
From Q1 2018 to Q1 2019, Georgia, specifically in Atlanta, and the District of Columbia have seen the highest growth of new centers, increasing 15% each. Supply in Ohio grew 13%, up to 126 centers.
California has the most number of centers in the U.S. with 1,100, followed by New York with 666 and Texas with 497.
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