Where Will Shopping Centers Be 1 Year from Now?

By steadfast
In March 6, 2019

Ask your search engine where will shopping centers be 1 year from now and you’ll be greeted with several articles about how malls are failing. While it’s true that several shopping centers have been closed in recent years, it’s not all gloom and doom and there’s still a place for malls in the future.



Shopping centers

Why Are Malls Failing?

A drop in the sales revenue of large retailers such as JCPenney, Macy’s, and Sears accounted largely for the failure of many shopping malls. These store closures were due largely to combination of factors such as changing demographics, rapid advancement of technology and the internet, as well as economic slowdown. The e-commerce revolution and the convenience of online shopping brought about a radical change in how people shopped.


New Trends in Shopping Malls

In response to the change in people’s behavior and other elements threatening the survival of shopping centers, the operators were left with no other choice, than to seek out new ways to remain relevant and increase mall traffic. New trends in shopping centers evolved largely due to increased urbanization and increase in the size of the younger generation. As cities increased in population, living spaces became smaller and so did the need for public spaces where people can meet-up.  Shopping malls, therefore, became a watering hole, especially for young people.


Shopping Malls as Recreation Centers

Shopping malls cannot hope to compete with online shopping in terms of product range, price comparisons, and convenience; the need to create a new set of value addition that people cannot get online. One of the ways shopping malls are changing is the inclusion of leisure and entertainment elements into what they offer.

Walk into the malls of the future and you’ll likely to find a theme park, ski slopes, go-karts and other facilities that can help parents spend quality time with their children.


The Use of Technology

Through the use of technology, malls can attract more visitors. Although it played a big role in the demise of shopping centers as we used to know them, the relevance of technology in the future of malls cannot be ignored. Technology is being used to improve customer satisfaction by making malls more usable. Parking, for example, is one customer pain-point that is being addressed. With the help of sensors in parking lots, drivers no longer have to drive around looking for a spot to park; they’re easily directed to the closest empty lot.


Changes in Mall Landscape

Shopping Center designs are also becoming more flexible to accommodate different mix of spaces. There may be an increase in the use of pop-up stores and kiosks to accommodate a variety of stores and merchandise over time. Open air malls that are fully integrated with the landscape will also become common.


In the next 1 year and going forward, you should expect to see shopping centers that offer much more than shopping, but more of an integrated community where people can live, work and shop.  With dining, leisure, and entertainment being thrown into the mix, it’s clear to see that shopping centers will remain with us for a long time to come. However, shopping will no longer be the primary reason to visit, but just one of those things we go there to do.

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