Columbus, OH – May 20, 2013 – Glimcher Realty Trust (NYSE: GRT), one of the country’s premier retail REITs, today released its findings on mall shopping trends with the launch of the Glimcher Retail Monitor™ , the first in a series of periodic surveys on the behavior of shoppers in today’s changing environment.
The inaugural survey was designed to understand why people come to the mall. Experiences, like dining out, watching a movie or participating in community events, continue to be the main reasons people prefer the mall to online shopping.
According to Michael P. Glimcher, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Glimcher, “The recession changed how consumers enjoy the mall. Today, the mall is a destination, offering more than just retail. While shopping will always be the primary reason people go to the mall, the survey supported our notion that going to the mall is about the experiences – whether that’s having a salad and a glass of wine with your girlfriends or enjoying a movie on a Friday night. People want a mix of retail, restaurants and entertainment.”
Results of the Glimcher Retail Monitor show that shopping at the mall is a social experience. According to the survey, 80% of Americans shop with someone. Further, despite today’s time-deprived culture, the survey showed people are willing to drive up to 30 minutes to get to the mall and stay 1 to 5 hours at the mall on a monthly basis.
In addition to experiences, the mall continues to be the central gathering place in almost every community. Farmers’ markets and live music were among the top events shoppers would like to see on a more regular basis at the mall, followed by community events and classes. Similarly, 52% of people surveyed said if stores offered more experiences like yoga classes, cooking demos or workshops, they would visit the mall more frequently.
Half of all shoppers surveyed prefer to shop both at the mall and online, and nearly 30% of respondents shop exclusively at the mall. Interestingly, despite being tech-savvy and daily social media users, only 20 percent of Americans shop online and even fewer participate in showrooming, the process of shopping in stores to see the merchandise but purchasing the product online.
Results of the survey further indicated that online shopping continues to grow but cannot compete with malls, which are still preferred because of their ability to offer a tactile experience in a social context. The ability to try on clothes and accessories (74%), the shopping experience (55%) and store variety (49%) were cited as the primary reasons for shopping at the mall. The mall also affords shoppers the ability to buy it today and wear it today.
Survey respondents indicated that a greater variety of stores (65%) is the number one thing that would get them to the mall more frequently, followed by more sit-down restaurants, department stores and entertainment options. Additionally, when asked about their favorite store at the mall, variety was most frequently listed as the top attribute. When you combine the duration and frequency of visits to the mall with the social atmosphere, it is evident mall owners should be looking closely at variety: variety of experiences at the center, variety of stores within the center and even variety of merchandise carried by their tenants.
“The Glimcher Retail Monitor survey findings show consumers seek an all-around shopping experience. From the moment they enter the mall, consumers begin to enjoy the tactile experiences, ambiance of the environment and aromas of the stores and restaurants,” said Dr. Marianne Bickle, head of the University of South Carolina’s Department of Retailing and study consultant. “Malls of the 21st century should provide a balance of entertainment and shopping experiences. As our study demonstrates, the components required to bring in foot traffic include planned entertainment, communication, variety and commitment.”