Retail experts have spent the better part of the past decade writing the American mall’s obituary. Now, new data show that malls are not only surviving, but thriving.
Following a wave of renovations and reinvention, many malls are sporting even larger crowds today than in pre-pandemic times, according to retail research firm Coresight Research.
Foot traffic in top-tier malls was up 12% in June 2022 compared to the same period in 2019. Their less ritzy counterparts saw a comparable 10% hike.
For context, “top-tier” refers to upscale malls nestled in affluent neighborhoods where the average shopper earns more than $200,000 annually. These top-tier malls reported an impressive $7.5 billion in revenue and an annual growth rate of 5% in 2022.
Lower-tier malls grew at an even higher rate of 9%, for revenues of $6.4 billion.
Gen Z Goes Shopping
The resurgence appears largely powered by the intersection of digital and physical shopping worlds. Omnichannel marketing, in which a retailer invests in both its online and in-store presence, appears to be working, leading brands and customers to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Analysts point to Gen Z as a driver of this mall revival movement. These digital natives are big on the tangible mall experience, perhaps surprisingly so: 73% of Gen Z shoppers reported to have visited a mall in the last month, a higher percentage than Millennials and Gen X.
The mall’s resurgence following the pandemic is a reminder of what made it a staple in the first place: community. While an online store can offer the same clothes and more convenience, it can’t offer personalized service, a bite to eat, and an opportunity to socialize with friends. If malls continue to invest in these experiences, reports of their demise may remain exaggerated.
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