As e-commerce evolves and we consider the role of physical spaces in the current environment, it’s driven many to call it the end for things we’ve become accustomed to but that have suffered at the hands of the pandemic.
The death of…
We keep hearing that the mall is dead. But is it? Maybe not. At least one in five are still shopping at indoor and outdoor shopping centers for personal care (28%), home goods (27%), apparel (22%) and beauty (22%). Behind e-commerce, shopping centers are even more preferred than stand-alone stores for non-food categories, including personal care (18%), home (21%), apparel (12%) and beauty (14%).
When thinking about physical spaces, 52% say it will only take days or weeks for them to feel comfortable going to a mall or shopping center, much faster than things such as sending children back to school and going to a place of religious worship (46% each), exercising in a gym (40%) and going to a bar (35%).
We’ve all seen the decline of the malls in our cities and towns, but what’s clear is that the consumer may not be ready to let them go completely. What’s needed is a reinvention of shopping centers into spaces that satisfy a multitude of consumer needs, whether that’s the integration of essential shopping, such as grocery, the convergence of adjacent industries, such as health care, an experiential destination that acts as part of the consumer journey or something else altogether.
Many cities are centered around a “downtown office” culture. Sixty-three percent say they are comfortable going back to their place of work within days or weeks, but many cities depend on public transportation to make that happen. And just 29% of consumers say they will be comfortable traveling on public transport within that same time frame. In fact, 54% say they will use public transport for commuting to work less often in the future. Now that remote working doesn’t require us to be so close to the office, will this drive an exodus from cities? Perhaps.