Think South for Convenience Retailers Looking to Grow

Florida cities sweep top three spots in U-Haul’s 2020 migration trends report.

January 11, 2021

PHOENIX, Ariz.—U-Haul said North Port, Florida, ranks as the top U-Haul growth city in America for 2020, according to company data analyzing U.S. migration trends during one of the more turbulent moving seasons in modern history.

Thirteen of the top 25 growth cities are in the Southeast, with five in Florida. Tennessee, the top U-Haul growth state of 2020, lands two cities on the list along with Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin.

California, Florida, Georgia and Texas are among the top 10 leading markets for convenience stores in terms of store count, according to the NACS/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.

North Port, an up-and-coming district in Sarasota County with easy access to the Gulf Coast and Interstate 75, leads the list of cities that saw many more do-it-yourself movers coming rather than going in 2020—a year defined by the coronavirus pandemic, the moving-supply company said.

Kissimmee, at the doorstep to world-famous theme parks, retains its No. 2 ranking on the list. Port St. Lucie gives Florida a sweep of the top three growth markets. Alabama’s Auburn-Opelika corridor climbs to No. 4, while the Wisconsin capital of Madison—the leading growth city of 2016—rounds out the top five.

Despite California’s out-migration numbers that rank it last among growth states, the markets of Sacramento-Roseville and Redding made the growth cities list as popular destinations for movers aiming to stay in-state, U-Haul said.

Growth cities are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a city versus leaving that city in a calendar year. Migration trends data are compiled from more than two million one-way U-Haul truck customer transactions that occur annually. Neighboring cities in certain markets are packaged together for U-Haul migration purposes.

While U-Haul migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic growth, the company’s growth data are gauge of how well cities and states attract and maintain residents.