malls, wellness, shopping

Like ants at a picnic, the cross-generational consumer appetite for fresh — in the growing health and wellness category — may be of interest to mall owners, department stores and any stagnating retailer.

In its summer 2019 retail spotlight report released to WWD, Colliers International identified a few stark evolutions of the shopping center — consumers want (or perhaps, desperately need) wellness advice centers and meditation spaces.

The report is authored by Anjee Solanki, national director, retail services at Colliers International; and Neil Saunders, managing director and retail analyst at GlobalData Retail. Condensing and analyzing the overall wellness trend, Colliers finds services such as medical clinics, IV hydration studios, napping lounges and beauty spas as desirable for both mall owner and consumer – and further incentivized under one roof.

Surveying 2,000 consumers, GlobalData found that nearly 86 percent of consumers want access to health product shops, with more than half (or 56 percent), “totally, likely” to frequent a so-called “wellness department store.” And the rise of wellness and health stores continues.


Colliers and GlobalData survey consumers on what they want from malls.  Courtesy Image

“They take smaller spaces and are willing to pay market rent,” Solanki said to WWD. “Landlords see this as a great opportunity to cluster several wellness uses, creating a mini-anchor and driving foot traffic to the project.”

This mini-anchor effect may lock in complementary adjacencies: organic grocers, tea houses, vegan cafés and juice bars, and consumers are willing to spend more time in-store when wellness is integrated. Like a gym membership, the value is in the use — or service. Customers are seeking wellness and health concepts at a higher frequency, according to Solanki.

Shoppers of every age are seeking out TLC, tender loving care; even showing less aversion to THC — the psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. With less aversion to medical cannabis and CBD-based products, consumer spending on cannabis and CBD will grow by 129 percent to well over $25 billion between 2018 and 2022, according to GlobalData’s research. Boomers are leading in perceived spending over the next few years, by this survey’s estimates — with the majority (or 82 percent) of Baby Boomers planning to spend more on health and wellness categories.

From Colliers International’s summer 2019 report.  Courtesy Image

Peter Horvath, chief executive officer of CBD retailer Green Growth Brands, finds the “stickiest, most loyal customers” in the shopping malls evolving with the new trend climate, wherein exists some of their 200-square-foot walk-in kiosks. Along with its web site and burgeoning partnerships with Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties, DSW Shoes also carries some product lines.

Solanki believes “every retailer will want a piece of the pie,” baking their own “wellness kits” for various consumer wellness needs, and it’s no different than what’s been done before — referencing Anthropologie’s luxury wellness section and its Instagrammable displays catered to Boomers and Millennials alike; Nordstrom’s spas and even Saks’ “Wellery” concept store, which debuted a few years prior for “fitness aficionados,” as evidence.


Baby Boomers lead the interest in tentative health and wellness purchases. 

As for the trajectory for the space across industries, retail and customer experience innovation platform, PSFK revealed in its retail health and wellness debrief that the sectors most likely to include health and wellness products and services in the next two years will be: hospitality (79 percent), beauty (79 percent) and apparel (69 percent), with restaurants and grocery also showing strong likelihood.

Seizing the opportunity between the wellness and hospitality sector, certified meditation instructor and former corporate marketer, Julie Sacks used her wellness platform “Vie” to offer meditation, movement and multisensory pop-up experiences while utilizing idle spaces in luxury hotels, such as Hotel Rivington in downtown Manhattan.

On her predictions of what will happen to the shopping mall, Sacks said, “Offering guests something holistic across mind, body and soul supports them, helps them de-stress and could make all the difference in having a guest book that hotel over the competition and continue to be a loyal consumer to that brand.” Sacks cites the parallels between influxes of changes to hospitality and retail, adding that a mall’s relevance is in its differentiations — “experience and convenience.”

Property management companies may find newfound traffic and reliability through wellness and wellness adjacent tenants.

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