Best Argument: No
Audience Favored: Yes (58%)
Less time to shop
It is also breaking up families that now have to face single parenting scenarios which make a planned mall excursion during normal business hours as well as on the nights and weekends that much more difficult. Fuel prices are also making people think twice about getting in the car and going to the Mall. All of these will increase retail vacancies and make e-commerce that much more attractive an alternative to traditional brick and mortar shopping.
Despite my largely telecommuter lifestyle, I still love to get out of the house. But my time has value, as it does to many people. Shopping is a necessity, but it is not necessarily an enjoyable activity at all times. That we all have less time to spend on tasks outside our revenue generation responsibilities and spend whatever we have left with our families (and our diversions) has no doubt impacted the bottom line of the shopping mall.
Let the marketplace decide...literally!
But that doesn't mean all stores will win. The malls will morph. Store owners and operators need to adjust to a world where online commerce is a reality, and they'll need to be creative and modify their business models to coexist in a world filled with digital natives.
One thing to consider when thinking about this issue is that half the stuff we now shop for online didn't even exist back in the day when we did pretty much all our shopping in person. So maybe people will shop for their digital stuff in the e-commerce world, and their real stuff in the real world. The Internet will just keep making it easier and easier to spend more money, whether enticing folks to a physical store or an online marketplace.
Some retailers, like Apple, will win big. Others won't. Such has always been the way of retail. In the meantime, enjoy shopping for what you need, in the way that works best for you. Be sure to support the stores you love, and then relax and let the marketplace decide.
Evolution, not extinction
This is a difficult one for me to call considering I’m a big fan of online shopping, and I detest having to shop in person most of the time -- even for groceries.
Nevertheless, I’m giving the win to Denise on this one.
Jason certainly had plenty of excellent points (not to mention numbers) defending why shopping malls just aren’t what they used to be in the face of e-commerce trends over the last few years.
But to argue that shopping malls are going totally extinct across the entire country is too extreme. In this sense, I agree with Denise that shopping malls will need to change their business models (not to mention size down) in response to current commerce trends.
Denise also had a few great suggestions of how malls could go about this, pointing out the small businesses that could thrive in shopping centers as well as linking malls to hotels for business travelers looking for last-minute items and services all in one spot.
Overall, shopping malls still serve a purpose for those consumers looking to get their shopping and errands done all in one place immediately. There are plenty of retailers that also require a brick-and-mortar presence that fit in well with the American shopping mall culture, such as big box hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.
However, as many other products (i.e. clothing, toys, anything entertainment related) can be bought online easily (and usually for a lower price), definitely expect to see a lot of stores and brands disappear from malls -- in effect causing them to get smaller than we might be used to seeing.