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Camaraderie Prime Attraction for Mall-goers
May 23, 2013

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A prime attraction of going to the mall is the interaction with other people, and that trumps online shopping, a new survey shows.

The survey canvassed people in a variety of locations, and 81 percent of respondents said that they preferred shopping with other people to shopping along, even if it meant traveling up to a half hour to get there. The respondents named the mall as a destination, not just a shopping opportunity. Most malls have offerings that include much more retail shops. In addition to the restaurants, movie theaters, and medical offices that routinely dot most malls, the respondents listed farmers markets and community classes as possibilities for future attractions. Specifically, more than half of the 3,400 adults 18 and older who responded to the survey said that they would visit malls more often if the malls offered instructional services like yoga classes and cooking workshops.

In the wake of the rise of online shopping, interest in going to the mall has waned but not disappeared. Nearly three-quarters of the respondents said that they preferred trying on clothes, shoes, and other accessories in real time in a real location, rather than looking online and, perhaps, guessing on whether things will fit. A prime attraction of mall shopping was also the ability to walk away with the product, rather than waiting for a delivery to arrive.

Half of the respondents reported preferences for shopping both online and in person; and only 20 percent said they preferred to "showroom," trying on clothes or shoes in a store and then buying online.

The responses echo an earlier effort by some malls to diversify offerings to combat online-only shoppers.

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