By a wide margin, shoppers prefer malls over the Internet “for any occasion,” at least according to a new survey of 1,200 shoppers commissioned by the Simon Property Group and conducted by an independent research firm.
Simon is the nation’s largest shopping center developer and operator.
The survey results, obviously, sat well with the Simon organization. “Malls are the destination of choice for the vast majority of today’s shoppers,” said Mikael Thygesen, chief marketing officer for Simon. “Mall shopping is a fun, social and rewarding experience that can’t be replicated and we’re investing in our assets to ensure we remain the preferred choice of shoppers for years to come.”
The survey, conducted by Dreyfus Advisors LLC, showed that 79 percent of the shoppers prefer to shop their favorite malls for their wants and needs arising from a special occasion, while just 13 percent prefer to shop online. The remaining 8 percent prefer non-mall brick-and-mortar venues, such as strip, outlet or power centers.
Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed prefer to update their wardrobes by shopping malls; 14 percent prefer online, and the remaining 9 percent chose non-mall venues.
As far as shopping for a special event, 75 percent prefer malls, 15 percent prefer online, and 10 percent chose non-mall brick and mortar formats.
Simon also listed the top six reasons cited by consumers for shopping the mall, as follows:
- There are stores that couldn’t be found elsewhere.
- They find great bargains.
- They provide “discoveries” not found online.
- It’s an easy shopping experience
- They make shopping fun.
- It’s an escape.
Simon said shoppers were surveyed in Atlanta, the Los Angeles metro area, Chicago, Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami/South Florida and New York/New Jersey.
While there have been reports that traffic at stores and malls is sluggish, the survey supports Simon’s strategy to invest in its properties. Mall operators point out that online sales still account for less than 10 percent of the nation’s total sales, and that many people go online to research store offerings and then shop more efficiently in the malls, though online shopping transactions do continue to rise.