Malls have become a symbol of consumerism and go-to hubs. However, even before the pandemic, shopping malls was already facing many challenges: The rise of e-commerce, shrinking foot traffic, and changing consumer shopping preferences threatened a way of shopping that existed for decades. These trends accelerated and created a more digital-centric consumer who expects frictionless technologies, personalized experiences,
and elevated conveniences. These new purchase drivers highlight the need for shopping mall transformation, and also create unique opportunities for the industry. Studies suggest staying on top of these trends can drive sales growth between 4% and 5% each year through 2025.
Central Pattana, Thailand’s largest retail property developer, plans to invest 120 billion baht (US$3.6 billion) over the next five years (2022-2026) to expand its current portfolio; inclusive of shopping malls in Thailand and abroad. Their recent addition of an eco-friendly urban farm on the rooftop of Central i-City, Malaysia, aligns with the rising trend of repurposing spaces in malls. One thing is clear: A storm of global trends are coming
together at the same time causing malls to change the role they play in people’s lives. To avoid becoming what one chief executive calls a ‘historical anachronism – a sixty-year aberration that no longer meets the public’s needs,’ mall operators and developers must expand their horizons of what a mall can be.