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Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023

by 
Shira Petrack
 on 
November 14, 2023
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023

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. Placer.ai 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. 

Mall Visits Begin to Perk Up

Although consumer confidence dropped in October for the third straight month in a row, foot traffic data indicates that the tide may be turning. In September, weekly year-over-year (YoY) visit gaps to Indoor Malls, Open-Air Shopping Centers, and Outlet Malls hit a low of 11.6%, 7.8%, and 14.2%, respectively. But those YoY visit gap lows narrowed to 9.0% for Indoor Malls, 6.5% for Open-Air Shopping Centers, and 12.4% for Outlet Malls in October – a sign that the extended holiday season is beginning to bring some shoppers back to shopping centers nationwide. 

Wider Retail Downturn Also Impacting Mall-Goers

Still, even with the narrowing visit gaps, mall visits remain below 2022 levels. But looking at wider contexts indicates that the ongoing dips in mall visits are the product of a wider retail downturn rather than a reflection of reduced interest in shopping centers. 

Analyzing the visitor journey of mall-goers revealed that, in October 2023, a smaller share of visitors to Indoor Malls, Open-Air Shopping Centers, and Outlet Malls visited other shops and services directly before or after going to the mall when compared to October 2022. This indicates that fewer consumers are visiting malls as part of a larger shopping trip – instead, shoppers may be making strategic budgeting decisions and prioritizing their trip to the mall over other shops & services stops. 

The decrease in the share of visitors combining their mall trip with other shopping activity could stem from the one-stop nature of the mall: Consumers looking to reign in their spending may be looking for ways to optimize their shopping trips, and getting all their errands done in one place could be one way of increasing efficiency.

Mall Visits Getting Longer 

The recent YoY dips in mall visits have been partially offset by longer median dwell times, and the trend towards longer visits continued in October even as the YoY appear to be narrowing. The longer visits also enabled mall-goers to accomplish more with each trip – another sign that shoppers are looking to accomplish more in malls, which is consistent with the decrease in visits to shops & services before and after mall trips. 

The longer dwell times across mall formats in October 2023 also indicates that, even as consumers are returning to malls, they’re still spending more time on each visit – a habit which may bring a much needed boost to the space ahead of a critical holiday season.

As retailers begin ushering in the holiday season, mall-goer visit patterns indicate that the shopping space may finally be heating up. Will the positive trends continue? How will Black Friday 2023 at Indoor Malls, Open-Air Shopping Centers, and Outlet Malls compare to years past? 

Visit placer.ai/blog to find out. 

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