By the Numbers

As of 2017 there were over 116,000 shopping malls in the United States.[i] Retail shopping in America is a booming industry. During the second quarter of 2019, U.S. retail sales amounted to over $1.3 billion dollars. And while some people speculate that shopping malls will soon be in trouble due to increasing online shopping, the numbers don’t paint such a dim picture.

Interior of a shopping mallIn 2018, 76 million households had members who shopped in a mall. That number is expected to rise to 77 million by 2020.[ii]

The reasons why people prefer to shop in a mall versus online varies. An eMarketer survey found that 60% of mall shoppers like to shop for apparel in a mall. 39% consider it value one-stop shopping. 24% enjoy an outing with friends and family. 20% find it convenient for buying quick gifts, and 19% like to make a full day of it including dining and entertainment.[iii]

Millennials Take the Lead

Image of a woman shoppingMillennials appear to be the generation that frequents shopping malls the most, followed closely by Generation Xers. In 2016, 74% of 18 – 34-year-olds visited a shopping mall in the past thirty days.[iv] And 83% of 18 – 34-year-olds had visited a shopping mall within the past three months.[v] Additionally, 71% of 35 – 44-year-olds and 56% of 45 – 54-year-olds visited a mall in the past 30 days and 84% of 35 – 44-year-olds and 71% of 45 – 54-year-olds visited a mall in the past three months.

And people spend a considerable amount of time in malls. On average, people spent between 106 and 158 minutes in a shopping mall within a three-month period in 2016.[vi]

How to Keep ‘em Coming

Shopping mall food courtSo, if visitors are spending a good amount of time in a mall each quarter, retailers and mall owners need to consider how to keep visitors on premises and, more importantly, spending money.

According to GlobalData, malls that increase their non-retail offerings, such as restaurants, entertainment, and pop-up shops increase spending in their mall up to three times as much as malls without strong non-retail offerings.

Cash Matters

Image of a woman paying in cashOne additional way that mall owners can increase spending is to give visitors easy access to cash. By installing a fleet of shopping mall ATMs, mall owners put money in the hands of customers who are then more likely to spend that cash on-site. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (FRBSF), “Cash continues to be the most frequently used payment instrument, representing 30 percent of all transactions and 55 percent of transactions under $10.” Additionally, the FRBSF also found that “7 percent of payments were made in-person. For these in-person payments, cash accounted for 39 percent of the volume.”

Whether by incorporating an on-site movie theatre, quality restaurant options, or in-house ATMs, shopping mall owners can be assured that if they build it, people will come.

[i] A.T. Kearney. (February 8, 2018). Number of shopping malls in the United States from 1970 to 2017 (in thousands) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved November 11, 2019

[ii] Households with people who shopped at any mall in the U.S. 2018 to 2020 [Graph]. (July 26, 2018). In Statista. Retrieved November 12, 2019

[iii] eMarketer. (June 21, 2018). Mall shoppers’ reasons for shopping at malls instead of online in the United States as of 2018 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved November 12, 2019

[iv] ICSC. (May 19, 2016). Share of consumers who visited shopping malls in the past thirty days in the United States in 2016, by age [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved November 12, 2019

[v] ICSC. (May 19, 2016). Share of consumers who visited shopping malls in a three-month period in the United States in 2016, by age [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved November 12, 2019

[vi] ICSC. (June 30, 2016). Average time spent at regional and super-regional malls by consumers in the United States from April to June in 2016, by age (in minutes) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved November 12, 2019

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