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Already have a account? Log In Mall Index: May 2024 Recap – Mall Visits on the Rebound

Maytal Cohen
June 6, 2024 Mall Index: May 2024 Recap – Mall Visits on the Rebound

About the Mall Index: The Index analyzes data from 100 top-tier indoor malls, 100 open-air shopping 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 millions of devices and processes the data using industry-leading AI and machine learning capabilities to make estimations about overall visits to specific locations. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • In May 2024, indoor malls, outlet malls, and open-air shopping centers all saw significant year-over-year (YoY) visit increases – providing further evidence that April’s slowdown was due to an Easter holiday calendar shift, rather than any real category weakness. 
  • Both Mother’s Day and Memorial Day drove substantial visit spikes across mall types – with foot traffic outperforming last year’s levels. 
  • Outlet malls experienced more pronounced visit bumps on Easter weekend and Memorial Day, while open-air shopping centers drew bigger spikes on Mother’s Day. 

May Sees a Strong Rebound in Mall Visits

After a brief calendar-driven slowdown in April, May saw a resurgence in foot traffic to malls. Indoor malls led the way with an 8.6% YoY increase, followed by open-air shopping centers and outlet malls, which experienced YoY jumps of 6.2% and 5.7%, respectively.

This uptick is likely due to a variety of factors – from warmer weather to rising consumer confidence amidst slowly easing inflation. And malls’ particularly strong showing on two of May’s most important retail milestones – Mother’s day and Memorial day also helped propel the segment forward. 

Category Strength Boosted and Showcased by Holiday Visit Spikes

Taking a closer look at visit patterns to the three mall types on Mother’s Day and Memorial Day shows how significant these special days were for mall foot traffic. On Mother’s Day (May 12th), indoor malls, open-air shopping centers, and outlet malls saw respective visit spikes of 15.8%, 26.0%, and 11.4%, compared to an average year-to-date (YTD) Sunday. And Mother’s Day visits were up significantly YoY as well – further highlighting the category’s robust positioning.

All three mall types also saw impressive visit bumps on Memorial Day – this time compared to an average YTD Monday. The relative spikes were bigger across the board, since malls tend to be less busy on Mondays than on Sundays. But for outlet malls, Memorial Day visits really hit it out of the park – with foot traffic up by a whopping 123.3%. As a day off work featuring plenty of markdowns, Memorial Day is an ideal time to make the longer trip to an outlet mall and hunt for bargains. 

And in another promising sign for the category, Memorial Day visits to all three mall types increased YoY – showing that despite continued headwinds, malls are still on the rise. 

Which Mall Kings Rule Special Calendar Days? 

Comparing weekly mall visits to an early January baseline also shows the varying impact of different holidays on the three mall types. 

On Easter, and even more so on Memorial Day – an extended weekend very much focused on savings – outlet malls won the day. On these holidays, shoppers may be more likely to have the time and state of mind to make a day of their shopping trip and lean into the treasure-hunting experience. 

But on Mother’s Day, more upscale open-air shopping centers took the lead, as consumers embraced a more unique and luxurious shopping experience. Still, all three mall types drew increased traffic on the different special days – showing that each can benefit from a variety of calendar highlights. 

Looking Ahead

Malls’ strong May performance – especially on the holidays – shows that shopping centers are on the upswing once again. This could be an encouraging sign for the category heading into the summer, and may hint at a promising shopping season during the warm months ahead. 

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