American Malls Are Making a Comeback

By: James Flippin · August 22, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Retail Resurrection

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.

Mall Metrics

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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