Shoppers Spend Less Time and More Money at Malls

Discussion
Oct 05, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Consumers are making fewer trips to go shopping at the mall, but when they go, says a new report from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), they are spending more money.


According to the ICSC’s figures, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, shoppers made an average 2.9 visits a month to the mall in 2004, spending $86.30 per trip.


As might be expected, teenagers visit the mall more often and spend the most time when they are there.


Interestingly, men go to the mall more often than women, although females tend to be there longer when they make the trip.


Various other findings analyzed by demographic distinctions show Latinos spending the longest time in malls. Consumers in this group are also the biggest spenders in department stores, specialty stores and restaurants located in malls.


Older consumers tend to gravitate towards department stores. According to the ICSC, shoppers 45 to 64 have the greatest percentage of shoppers who prefer to department stores.


Sixteen percent of consumers who go to the mall do not go there to shop. Instead, their trip is for entertainment purposes, such as going out to see a movie.


Moderator’s Comment: As someone (theoretically) operating a store in a mall, what do you takeaway from the latest research from the ICSC?


This from the Chicago Sun-Times: “Some retail experts believe that department stores will split into two types – big national chains such as Macy’s,
J.C. Penney and Sears, and upscale stores in niche markets, such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and perhaps Saks Fifth Avenue. They call it the ‘supersize or specialize’ model of
21st century retail success.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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8 Comments on "Shoppers Spend Less Time and More Money at Malls"


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JAMES E BERK
Guest
JAMES E BERK
15 years 5 months ago
It is time for mall owners and retailers alike to understand they are in a partnership with each other. Joint media marketing efforts to the surrounding community as well as sales producing in-mall events are a must. The objective of any event should be, “How many customers do I get in the stores?,” not, “How well did I show off the mall.” The department store anchor is no longer the draw it was. The communities, especially the growing ethnic communities, which culturally did not grow up in a “mall environment” need to know what is new and exciting and AFFORDABLE at the mall. We believe we have created a unique retail offer in the mall that has now proven to be the affordable “retailtainment” (my word) for tweens and teens and their parents about which some of your other commentators spoke. Our Btween concept sells 95% of the tween/teen targeted merchandise we carry at a price Btween $1 and $5. In addition, the remaining 5%, which we call Fantastic Finds (c) is also at extreme… Read more »
M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 5 months ago
My takeaway is that we shouldn’t get excited by this research. It provides some evidence that consumers are conserving time by visiting malls slightly less often and making up for it by spending slightly more. Movement of a glacial nature only. Further, the Sun-Times article misspoke in its headline: “Shoppers spend more money, less time at malls.” By “less time,” they really meant fewer visits. That has nothing to do whatsoever with the actual amount of time spent in malls, and that’s a figure I’d be interested in as a store operator in a mall. Doing the math shows that 2004 shoppers spent $3,003.24 annually in malls ($86.30 X 2.9 X 12 months). Since the Sun-Times only provides the average mall sale for 2003 of $83.30, we can calculate that, to equal 2004 sales, visits/month in 2003 would have had to be 3.0, representing a 3.3% decline in traffic in 2004. Further, visits/month 1988-99 were reported to be 3.4. Interestingly, no figures were provided for 2000-02. Bottom-line, insufficient information was provided from which to draw… Read more »
Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 5 months ago
From what I’ve seen, the mix is what makes a mall popular and busy. The one I most frequently visit has it all – small independent shops, small chains, department stores, an excellent selection of places to eat and drink and, yes, a big cinema. It attracts people of all ages, day and night and I have never seen it less than bustling. The vast majority of people are carrying bags that show they have been spending money and most of the eating places have at least a few people in them at any time I’ve passed. Its location is also excellent, in a town centre but at the end of, and parallel to, the high street which is generally pretty well occupied as well. This particular mall opened some 10 years behind schedule and there were lots of concerns about whether it would drag shoppers away from the high street but those with confidence in it turned out to be right and there is room for everyone. Many retailers have outlets in both the… Read more »
Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
Guest
Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
15 years 5 months ago

In markets where the Latino population is a majority or dominant population, the malls are wise to take their views and values into consideration. The entertainment experience is important as is the ability to cater to multiple generations and group dynamics versus individual shopping. We all have less time to spend, so more one-stop-shopping that transcends clothes and gifts might be in order. Services and entertainment and quick experiential environments that satisfy a time starved customer are easily integrated if malls and their tenants think outside of the “mall box.”

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
15 years 5 months ago

People want to perceive that if they drive off to a mall they will get some kind of worthwhile personal reward, psychic or real. If the mall’s retailers, assortments and Sense of Theater give that to them, they will continue to come. If not, the cost gasoline becomes a restraining issue.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

Desperately needed: unique stores that make a difference. Almost no mall has them. Most malls rely on their location and tenant mix to be successful. From mall to mall, the tenant mix is very similar, so the location becomes the greatest lever. If your mall has a couple of department stores, the same clothing stores everyone else has, the same shoe stores, the same movies, and the same food court selections, you have no competitive edge except location. And that describes most malls today. A great shopping motivator is the sense of excitement and discovery at finding something unexpected. How often do you feel those emotions in a mall?

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
15 years 5 months ago

If people are going to the mall less often and if one of the major attractions is entertainment such as going to a movie, what does that say? Maybe it says that people, in general, don’t see shopping as entertainment and need a reason to make a trip to the mall fun. If people are spending more money, it would seem that, when there, the stores are drawing customers in. Several questions still need to be answered: What do potential consumers view as attractive entertainment? Why do they dislike shopping? What could make consumers want to stay longer once at the mall?

Joe Leathers
Guest
Joe Leathers
15 years 5 months ago

This doesn’t surprise me one bit. Consumers want to spend less time running around and more time one-stop shopping. And with the current gas situation, I would think malls would greatly benefit.

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