Redefining the Mall

Although the wake-up call for shopping malls to adapt to a changing retail environment was heard long before COVID, the pandemic had enhanced its pressing urgency. Our latest whitepaper discusses some of the ways in which malls can go through a data-driven redevelopment process while adapting to changing industry trends and consumer behavior. Below is a taste of what we found. 

The full report can be downloaded here.

Strengthening Weaknesses

With visitors wanting more today than just shopping, malls seek different non-traditional tenants for a more powerful and engaging experience. Here lies a golden opportunity to host tenants with completely different visitation patterns that could augment their host mall’s weakness points. Fitness and health tenants, for example, can offer unique advantages in driving traffic during off-peak days and hours. While most malls see peaks on the weekends and during afternoon hours, a health tenant like Aspen Dental sees over 97% of visits on weekdays and up to 60% of visits before noon.

Temporary Buzz

Another way for malls to liven-up their visitors’ experience is by hosting temporary pop-ups that boost foot traffic and increase overall property revenue in host malls. A pop-up’s popularity and ability to drive mall foot traffic can be highly correlated with pop-up brand customers and mall visitors’ demographic fit. 

As an example, one of the pop-up showrooms at BrandBox is the fitness brand Peloton. A demographic data comparison of the mall and brand consumers from May through October of 2020 showed several existing gaps. For example, while 56% of Peloton’s visitors were female, there were only 45% female visitors at Tysons Corner Center. The mall also attracted a higher percentage of high-income visitors than Peloton. Awareness of these demographic differences between Peloton and its host mall’s consumers could enable the Peloton pop-up showroom to adapt its marketing strategy to succeed and allow shopping centers to better target different audiences.

Guiding the Upgrade

While it is one thing to recognize the need to upgrade or redevelop, the real challenge is to set the right redevelopment goals based on a deeper understanding of a location’s true audience. The Montgomery Mall in North Wales, Pennsylvania, is one of four struggling malls that are being relinquished of Simon Property Group’s ownership due to poor performances. Data on mall visitors’ average household income between January through October 2019 reveals that Montgomery mall attracted the highest percentage of high-income shoppers compared to its four top-ranked neighboring malls. In response to this data, any redevelopment or upgrade plan that would have taken place should have included moving toward a tenant mix that would best fit the mall’s high-income visitors, allowing it to capitalize on its unique competitive strength.

Want to learn more? Check out the full report here to see all of the insights and analysis.

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