Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In Mall Index - May 2023 Recap

Shira Petrack
June 6, 2023 Mall Index - May 2023 Recap

Although consumers appear to be feeling slightly more optimistic about the economy, savings intentions remain strong – which may be coming at the expense of discretionary spending. And the clothing, footwear, and household goods categories – the bulk of items sold in malls – seem particularly impacted

But amidst the challenges, foot traffic data may be showing signs of a budding mall recovery. We dove into the May 2023 shopping center visitation patterns for Indoor Malls, Open-Air Lifestyle Centers, and Outlet Malls to get a better understanding of current consumer trends. 

Economic Headwinds Continue to Weigh on Mall Traffic 

Year-over-year (YoY) visit gaps for all three mall categories grew in May 2023, marking the fourth month in a row of expanding YoY visit gaps and highlighting the current challenges faced by retailers. Consumers – who may be waiting for prices to drop or interest rates to ease – seem to be delaying large purchases and shifting their spending away from goods and towards services, which is continuing to take a toll on the shopping center space.  

But although YoY visitation patterns tell a more challenging story, other metrics indicate that a burgeoning recovery may be gaining steam. 

Signs of a Shopping Center Recovery 

First, month-over-month (MoM) visits have remained mostly positive or flat over the past three months. And while some of the MoM increases may be due to changes in month length, the relative consistency in MoM visit numbers may also indicate that – although YoY visit gaps persist – mall traffic trends are not necessarily getting worse. 

Second, the recent trend towards more mission-driven shopping seen in several retail categories – including malls, superstores, and grocery – continued in May, with Open-Air Lifestyle Centers and Outlet Malls seeing a boost in median visit length relative to May 2022. The increase in visit time could mean that consumers are making fewer trips to the mall because they are maximizing each visit and stopping by all their favorite stores, dining concepts, and entertainment venues on each trip. In other words, the quality of visits may be increasing even as the quantity of visits stagnates. 

Outlet Malls Get Biggest Sales Event Boost

Zooming into visit patterns over recent sales events also highlights the continued value that consumers receive from malls and helps put the current traffic slowdown in perspective. Over the past year, every sales event – including more minor retail holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day – has driven significant traffic surges to the three mall categories. This indicates that people still want to visit malls – they just want to make sure that a mall trip will not blow their monthly shopping budget. 

And Outlet Malls have consistently seen the largest sales event boost, including over the recent Memorial Day weekend, which also suggests that consumers are willing to go out of their way for a mall visit that won’t break the bank. Visits to Outlet Malls during the week of May 22nd through 28th, 2023 were up 50.9% relative to a weekly January 30th through February 5th baseline, while Indoor Malls and Open-Air Lifestyle Centers saw their visits increase just 14.6% and 19.8%, respectively. 

The relatively strong performance of Outlet Malls over retail sales events indicates that consumers are not permanently abandoning malls. Instead, in the current economy, many shoppers appear to prioritize value – which could explain why Outlet Malls receive such a traffic boost during holidays, as consumers look to take advantage of the double discounts offered by the outlet format during these happenings.

With the summer months offering plenty of promotional opportunities – including critical Back to School sales – the mall recovery may well accelerate. And if recent visitation patterns are an indication of things to come, outlet malls could be the biggest winners of the upcoming season. 

For more data-driven 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
Indoor Malls
Text Link
Outlet Malls
Text Link
Open-Air Malls
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
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