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2024 Retail: Tenant Diversity, Younger Shoppers Highlight the Mall Experience

Malls and shopping centers have experienced a resurgence within the past couple of years (with the exception of older and poorly located malls). This is despite the challenges of inflation. In a recently released report, Placer.ai indicated that “2023 ended with a surge in consumer confidence” while “2024 may well bring a positive shift to malls and the wider retail landscape.”

Here are three specific trends Placer.ai foresees in the coming year:

Greater Tenant Diversity

Tenant diversity in centers and malls isn’t new – owners have been using this strategy recently to attract more shoppers. Placer.ai anticipated that “the trend appears set to be taken to the next level in 2024.” This will involve placemaking, defined as creating and maintaining spaces that foster social interaction and exchange. Placer.ai noted that placemaking is proving to boost retail performance successfully.

Higher-Income Shoppers

Placer.ai explained that malls attracted shoppers with higher incomes in 2023 – and that’s likely to continue in 2024. This is because high-income shoppers are “displaying significantly stronger consumer confidence than their middle- and low-income counterparts.” One reason is that many malls and open-air centers are located in relatively affluent areas and neighborhoods.

Younger Visitors

During the latter 20th century and into the early 2000s, teens hung out regularly in malls. Placer.ai indicated that malls and shopping centers are again attracting their share of younger consumers. Noted the report: “As Gen-Z shoppers rediscover physical stores and increasingly seek out the mall-going experience, the share of younger consumers visiting shopping centers may well grow larger in the upcoming year.”

Placer.ai concluded its report with advice to retail center owners. Shopping centers and malls that provide diverse experiences and cater to higher income and/or younger shoppers “can take advantage of the opportunities in the year ahead,” the company commented.

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About Amy Wolff Sorter

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