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News release

CHICAGO, IL

Survey Says: Malls Still Matter

JLL’s survey revealed 97 percent of shoppers polled visited a mall at least once in three months


CHICAGO, May 14, 2015 — Flash back say 40 years ago, to the inception of the American mall. It wasn’t just a master-planned, air-conditioned box meant to alleviate suburbanites’ boredom and thirst for material possessions; it was intended to be a community center, a gathering place for families and friends. Today, despite its evolution the modern mall’s principles hold true to its roots, and it remains the primary shopping destination in America. Consumer shopping habits have changed, but only slightly, according to JLL’s Shopping Preferences Survey, which polled nearly 3,000 shoppers nationwide.

“Today’s consumers need a reason to come to the store beyond making a transaction, but the million dollar question on the minds of retailers and retail owners is, what exactly will entice shoppers?” said Holly Rome, Director of Retail Leasing for JLL. “The survey explores changes in consumer buying habits and shopping preferences, and uncovers that malls and other brick-and-mortar retail options are still an essential venue for consumers to purchase goods despite the expansion of online shopping alternatives.” 

JLL’s survey revealed 97 percent of shoppers polled visited a mall at least once in three months. More than 60 percent of those shoppers claim they visited a mall up to six times over a three month period, and three in 10 said they made more than six trips during that same time period. Here are the top three drivers, according to survey respondents, that will not only bring shoppers in, but keep them coming back: 

1.      Variety is the Spice of Life: Populate your mall with key and complementary retailers. Nearly half of all respondents indicated a mall’s selection of stores is the key driver for their visits. But aside from their main target, other stores can also benefit. Nearly three-quarters of mall-goers indicated that when they reach their retail destination, they’ll visit up to five stores, with nearly 20 percent hitting between six and eight stores. If consumers take the time to venture to a brick-and-mortar location, they’re making it worth their while.
2.      Convenience as a Commodity: Retail centers will remain resilient by offering the right balance of the tangible and intangible, as nearly 80 percent of shoppers report they’d be more inclined to visit a mall if it had more convenient service or health businesses. According to ICSC, nearly a quarter of the space in U.S. shopping centers is occupied by businesses other than shops and restaurants and, increasingly, dentist offices, medical urgent care clinics, yoga studios and grocery stores are becoming standard tenants. And if an entertainment component is thrown into the mix? Two-thirds of survey respondents indicate they’d be more inclined to visit.
3.      Push and Pull of Promotions: Consumers today want information pushed to them through promotional emails, mailers and social media. According to JLL, the most effective way to reach shoppers is overwhelmingly through email promotions (78 percent), but in a congested inbox it’s about quality over quantity, and frequency is key. Additionally, more than half of survey respondents say they check out shopping apps like RetailMeNot and ShopKick, or subscribe to direct text messages from retailers.

“The mall still serves a vital purpose in today’s society. And while it doesn’t meet every need, neither do laptops nor mobile devices,” said Karen Raquet, JLL’s Director of National Retail Property Services. “More than 75 percent of respondents indicated that if they’re not shopping at the mall, they’re still venturing out to physical retail locations like strip-centers, big-box, discount or wholesale venues to make their purchases.”

The pressure remains for retail owners and retailers to continually innovate and improve in order to stay ahead of (or just 'in') the game. While e-commerce will continue to challenge traditional shopping, the two will blend together just as catalogue and brick and mortar have done for decades. The future of retail holds a mix of both physical space, which remains not only relevant but attractive, and online mediums as retailers embrace multi-channel sales platforms. As Raquet notes, “The retail real estate market is not only alive and well, it really is evolving.”

JLL’s Retail Group serves as the industry’s leader in retail real estate services. The firm’s more than 800 dedicated retail experts in the Americas partner with investors and occupiers around the globe to support and shape investment and site selection strategies. Its retail specialists provide independent and expert advice to clients, backed by industry-leading research that delivers maximum value throughout the entire lifecycle of an asset or lease. The firm has more than 100 retail brokerage experts spanning more than 25 major markets, representing more than 550 retail clients. As the largest third party retail property manager in the United States, JLL’s retail portfolio has more than 500 centers, totaling 69 million square feet under management in regional malls, lifestyle centers, grocery-anchored centers, power centers, central business districts, transportation facilities and mixed-use projects.  For more news, videos and research from JLL’s Retail Group, please visit: www.jllretail.com.

For more news, videos and research resources on JLL, please visit the firm’s U.S. media center Web page:   http://bit.ly/13y6hnB

About JLL
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. With annual fee revenue of $4.7 billion and gross revenue of $5.4 billion, JLL has more than 230 corporate offices, operates in 80 countries and has a global workforce of approximately 58,000.  On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 3.4 billion square feet, or 316 million square meters, and completed $118 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2014. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $55.3 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit www.jll.com.