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3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024

by 
Shira Petrack
 on 
January 18, 2024
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024

What does 2024 hold for malls and shopping centers? We dove into the data to unearth the trends likely to shape the space in the coming year. 

  1. Greater Diversity Among Mall Tenants

The move towards greater tenant diversity in malls shaped the shopping center space in recent years, and the trend appears set to be taken to the next level in 2024. Placemaking – crafting public spaces that go beyond utilitarian needs to foster social interaction and exchange – is at the forefront of many urban development initiatives, and the trend is already boosting retail performance in successful placemaking projects. 

Fenton, a mixed-use district in Cary, N.C., opened in June 2022. The project showcases the potential of placemaking to transform an underutilized space into a vibrant “live-work-play” community with something for individuals and families of all ages. The retail and entertainment village includes shops, restaurants, seasonal attractions, entertainment venues, and other diverse offerings that are establishing Fenton as a community hub and a prime destination for residents. Visits were up 53.2% between July and December 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, while median dwell time increased from 64 to 83 minutes. 

Across the country, in Phoenix, AZ, Park Central Mall – the state’s first open-air shopping center – was also redesigned as a mixed-use development Park Central. The complex includes restaurants, office space, medical facilities, and bioscience research labs, with more hospitality and housing under construction. And although the project first reopened in 2019, visits to the revitalized Park Central continue to grow – between 2022 and 2023, foot traffic to Park Central increased by 32.8% while median dwell time grew from 75 to 80 minutes. 

  1. Higher-Income Visitors Likely to Drive Mall Visit Growth in 2024

In 2023, malls attracted relatively high income shoppers – and as the trend is likely to continue in 2024, with high-income shoppers displaying significantly stronger consumer confidence than their middle- and low-income counterparts.  

Households in the potential market trade areas of Indoor Malls, Open-Air Lifestyle Centers, and Outlet Malls tended to have higher incomes relative to the nationwide median – and the median HHI was even higher in the malls’ captured market trade area. This means that many of these malls are located within relatively affluent communities (hence the relatively high potential market median HHI) and attract the higher-income shoppers within those areas (as shown by the even higher captured market median HHI). 

With middle-income shoppers expected to tighten their budgets in 2024, high-income consumers will likely remain a significant share of mall-goers in 2024 as well. 

  1. Malls Will Continue Attracting Younger Shoppers  

Malls used to be the place for teens to hang out on weekends – and it looks like shopping centers are once again attracting younger generations of consumers. Between 2019 and 2023, the share of “Young Professionals” and “Young Urban Singles” in the captured market trade areas of Indoor Malls, Open-Air Shopping Centers, and Outlet Malls increased. At the same time, the share of older segments – “Suburban Boomers” and “Sunset Boomers” – decreased. 

As Gen-Z shoppers rediscover physical stores and increasingly seek out the mall-going experience, the share of younger consumers visiting shopping centers may well grow larger in the upcoming year. 

Looking Ahead to 2024 

Last year’s ongoing inflation brought a unique set of challenges to a brick-and-mortar space still recovering from the pandemic’s impact. But 2023 ended with a surge in consumer confidence, and 2024 may well bring a positive shift to malls and the wider retail landscape. And shopping centers – especially those that offer a diversity of experience and succeed in catering high-income and/or younger shoppers – can take advantage of the opportunities in the year ahead. 

For more data-driven insights, visit placer.ai/blog.   

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