Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In Mall Index: August 2023 Recap

Shira Petrack
September 6, 2023 Mall Index: August 2023 Recap

About the Mall Index: The Index analyzes data from 100 top-tier indoor malls, 100 open-air lifestyle centers (not including outlet malls) and 100 outlet malls across the country, in both urban and suburban areas. uses de-identified location information from a panel of tens of million devices and processes the data using industry-leading AI and machine learning capabilities to make estimations about overall visits to specific locations. 

Wider Economic Headwinds Weight on Mall Space

The mall space offered reasons for optimism earlier this summer when month-over-month (MoM) visits rose for three months in a row between May and July 2023. But consumer confidence fell in August and middle-income shoppers limited their spending. The renewed economic headwinds, coupled with the seasonal drop in mall visits between July and August seen over the past couple of years seems to have impacted malls particularly strongly – all three mall formats analyzed saw a drop in MoM visits. 

But while MoM visits fell, other foot traffic metrics paint a rosier picture. We dove further into the location analytics for more context on August 2023’s mall visitation patterns. 

Drop in Visitors Smaller Than the Drop in Visits 

Year-over-year (YoY) mall visit numbers reflect the wider August downturn, with foot traffic to Indoor Malls, Open-Air Lifestyle Centers, and Outlet Malls relative to August 2022 down 4.5%, 0.6%, and 8.0%, respectively. But unique visitors were down just 2.6%, 0.4%, and 6.7%, respectively, for Indoor Malls, Open-Air Lifestyle Centers, and Outlet Malls – so the YoY gap in visits was larger than the YoY gap in visitors. 

The larger YoY visit gap compared to the YoY visitor gap indicates that some of the drop in August visits is due to a drop in visit frequency – some shoppers visited fewer times in August 2023 than in August 2022. This drop in visit frequency is not necessarily all negative – consumers looking to save on gas and consolidate their shopping are likely accomplishing more during each visit, which could be offsetting the reduced frequency of their mall trips. The latest indication of the ongoing value of mission driven shopping.

Median Visit Duration Still High 

Indeed, median visit duration to all three mall types increased significantly YoY in June, July, and August of this year, which seems to indicate that the quality of mall visits is improving, even as the quantity dips. And outlet malls – which saw the biggest YoY dips in visits – also saw the largest YoY increases in median dwell time. So while August 2023 consumers may be cutting down on mall visits and discretionary spending – those who are still heading to malls are making the most of their less frequent visits by spending more time shopping, dining, and hanging out.  

What Happened to Back-to-School? 

Malls used to play an important part in parents’ back-to-school shopping, but their function as a one-stop-shop for apparel for all ages has become less central in recent years. Even in the summer of 2021 – when brick-and-mortar retail rebounded with a vengeance, and July mall visits exceeded pre-pandemic levels – foot traffic dipped back down towards the end of August, just as Back-to-School season was peaking. And in 2022 – just like this year – the August YoY visit gaps for Indoor Malls and Open-Air Lifestyle Centers outsripped those of July. So which retailers are supplementing malls as the go-to back-to-school shopping destination? 

Analyzing cross-visit data for indoor malls indicates that a larger share of visitors to indoor malls also visited value-priced superstores, discount & dollar store chains, and off-price retailers in July-August 2023 when compared to July-August 2022. The increase in cross-shopping to budget-friendly chains coupled with the longer dwell times in malls could mean that parents are focused on low prices during this year’s Back-to-School season and visiting malls for the activities and experiential component offered by the format.

Mall-Based Behavior Continues to Evolve 

Although much has been predicted regarding the demise of malls, foot traffic indicates that malls continue to serve an important purpose in the wider retail landscape. Still, mall-based consumer behavior seems to be undergoing a shift. Instead of functioning as one giant superstores, malls may be regaining some of their 1990s-era character as experiential hubs where visitors spend hours hanging out, eating in the food court, engaging in unique activities and entertainment – and of course, shopping. 

As the retail space continues to stabilize post-COVID and post-inflation and the role of malls continues to evolve, one thing seems certain – malls are here to stay.

For more data-based retail insights, visit

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Mall Index
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023 Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023 Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap Mall Index: August 2023 Recap White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream