Is shopping at malls still as popular as in the past?

Is shopping at malls still as popular as in the past?

30 Jul 2023


Lifestyle and Consumer Trends

The Golden Days of Mall Shopping

Now, allow me to transport you back twenty, maybe thirty years ago. You can almost hear the faint chatter, the squeak of shopping cart wheels, and the hum of mall music. You found just about everything you needed under one convenient roof, from apparel to electronics, food to home decor. Much to the dismay of Max, my lovable Golden Retriever and Bella, my Siamese cat (who always seems disapproving of my mall loot), shopping was mainly an offline affair. I was the carrier pigeon for grocery lists, the unstoppable consumer in a maze of retailers. Yes, shopping malls and I went way back! But is this legacy living on, or gradually fading into oblivity?

The Digital Overthrow in Retail

As technology took over and online shopping sites sprouted up like mushrooms, the hallowed aisles of the mall started to look a tad too lonely. Clicking "Add to Cart" replaced the physical shopping cart and with great sorrow, I started spending less time in malls. And it wasn't just Zander experiencing this shift, but millions worldwide.

Turns out, sitting down at your laptop with Max dozing off on your lap or Bella snoozing nearby, is quite comfortable. But what's more, it's easy! You get to compare prices, hunt down deals, and have your purchases delivered to your doorstep. Never had I imagined online shopping would take over so completely, giving my pets some respite from my incessant mall adventures.

Do Malls Hold Their Charm?

The mystery to unfold here, though, is whether the charm of mall shopping still exists. Surely, the physical experience of trying on clothes in the fitting rooms, the aroma of coffee wafting from the food court, the impromptu get-togethers with friends at the mall - all these experiences have a certain irreplaceable magic to them.

As it turns out, for many millennials and Gen Z consumers, the mall still has its appeal. There's a certain rush to shopping that can't be felt through a screen. As a bloke who still cherishes his pair of jeans that were a perfect fit found after an hour-long hunt in a mall, I can very much attest to this sentiment!

The Still-beating Heart of the Suburbs

Now, you may be surprised to know, but malls still remain the heart and soul of many suburbs. The draw of malls stretches beyond retail - they serve as community centers, kids' play zones and foodie hangouts. Even my excursions to the mall became less about compulsive buying and more about a stroll with a coffee in hand, taking in the hustle and bustle of life around me.

The Constantly Evolved Mall Experience

One reason that malls are fighting their ground in the face of online retail is through continuous evolution. Gyms, pop-up shops, interactive installations and even craft beer tasting stalls - are all part of a mall's attempt to offer experiences that online shopping simply can't.

For instance, my local mall recently held a dog grooming event - Max loved it! (Bella clearly showed her distaste for her lack of invitation. But really, how on earth do you groom a cat? That's like trying to make perfect toast in a microwave.)

Malls or Online: The Final Verdict

In retrospect, can we really claim that one type of shopping is outright superior to the other? It seems to me that they both have a place in our retail world. Malls may not be as buzzing as they used to be and online shopping may appear to have the upper hand, but the two can certainly coexist. In the end, it's down to personal preference, whether you court convenience or seek an experience.

While Max and Bella might vote for the calmer shopping-at-home option mostly due to their distaste for extended absences and my exuberant mall returns, I must confess - put me in a mall with a credit card and free time and I'm like a kid in a candy store.

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