Unless you’ve been hiding away in a bunker underground somewhere for the past few years (particularly this year), you have probably witnessed mall shopping on the decline. Even if we weren’t dealing with a worldwide pandemic that has put a halt to socializing and large crowds, the digital age has truly taken the driver’s seat when it comes to retail shopping.
Why It Matters
Amazon has completely changed the way we shop, research items, and even have them delivered. It’s incredibly convenient, you often score great deals and if you’re a Prime member, you also get immediate gratification within a 24-hour window delivery.
There was a time when the new Air Jordans would be released, or there was a clearance sale at your favorite department store and it would send people rushing to malls. The holidays were filled with lines everywhere, hauling a ton of shopping bags out to the car and maybe even hitting up a movie at the mall theater. It’s simply not the way our society functions when it comes to shopping anymore.
Fate Of Malls
As many as one in four US malls is expected to close by 2022, according to a 2017 report. Those that are still trying to hang in the game have had to introduce different elements to the shopping retail space. Adding gyms, microbreweries, doctor’s offices – these have all just been a few of the tactics to prolong a social lifestyle around the purchasing space. What ends up happening is that larger property companies aren’t able to afford the operation of their high-end spaces while still managing to keep lower-end shopping options available.
The struggling retailers are closing stores left and right, filing for bankruptcy, and pruning underperforming stores. The newer malls with larger budgets have reinvented their locales as lifestyle hubs. This seems to be the last-ditch effort to keep any malls open. And the brands who market to higher-earning individuals are now filled with stores like Apple, Peloton, Lululemon – places the average American can’t afford on a regular basis.
What Is Being Done
Yet still, property companies aren’t losing hope. They have begun installing aquariums, rock wall gyms, and more to try and bridge the gap between lifestyle and retail. It’s all about driving people out of their homes in the hopes that they will spend more, see something they like and help contribute to keeping the atmosphere afloat.
Lockdowns Expedited Things
And if malls weren’t already past their prime with the infusion of digital shopping into our culture, the COVID crises certainly hasn’t helped. Patrons are fearful to go to the grocery store let alone a place that was intended for thousands of people to congregate. It’s not even a choice anymore – health must be our number one concern, which means minimizing opportunities to catch a deadly virus.
It is only with the hope that one day we will be clear of public health scares, sick of our lack of social interaction and just miss trying on a pair of jeans before you buy them. It is hard to know what the future holds when it comes to human psychology, but for now, malls are in trouble and the trend is only increasing.