Is The Shopping Mall Dead?

Whether shopping or people-watching, a day at the mall was all in fun and enjoyment. From shoe stores to the food court, you would always run into a friendly face. Shopping malls like the Mall of America were once great hangout spots, especially for teenagers after school. During the holidays, crowds were piled high and every store in the mall was packed. Today, the average indoor mall is not what it used to be. Over time, the dying effect has pushed a lot of retailers to move their businesses to outlet malls or shopping centers. Major department stores are downsizing to a compact design. Coffee shops are the big hangout spots. Even thrift shops have grown to give fashion a new look on “vintage” or “retro”. Vacancy signs and unpopular businesses make indoor malls look unattractive. So what happened? What major changes have increasingly affected the life of the premium shopping malls near me? Several factors are to blame, but the overall truths lie in the hands of technology, economics, and safety.

Caught in the Net

Online shopping has taken the place of retail mall shopping.

Technology has definitely spoiled us all with ease of use and one-click solutions. We no longer need to go to the bank due to online banking. We even pay our bills, such as utilities, on the internet. We live in a time where a great majority of people find online shopping convenient, comfortable, and cheaper. Many consider the use of gas and saving time in their busy day when it comes to shopping at a mall versus shopping online. With just your finger, you can get in and get out, selecting exactly what you want without being subliminally enticed to purchase other items.

People usually find bigger discounts and a wider variety of items through online retailers. Being allowed to use coupons, promo codes, gift cards, and loyalty cards online is a bonus. On the business end, retailers also find this shopping method more convenient. Major department stores no longer need to lease mall spaces for inventory. With things like site-to-store and other shipping options, there is no need for space to hold so many items inside the store.

Empty Pockets

Money is tight for most Americans who used to visit shopping malls regularly.

With so many people in a financial crisis, shopping at a mall is simply unimaginable. Economic status is one of the biggest reasons that indoor shopping malls are becoming extinct. Many Americans are unemployed or living paycheck to paycheck, forcing them to make the choice between groceries or a new pair of jeans. High-end retailers are doing well, but those who cannot not afford the brands steer clear of mainstream shopping options. Although many stores in an average shopping mall are affordably priced, they still don’t offer the lowered discounts that many stand-alone retailers bring to the table. Popular retailers move to locations and areas where there are shoppers that can afford their merchandise, without having to lose profit because of ongoing sales and discounts. They also save money by not hiring a bunch of workers to run the stores due to having an online store.

Safe Shopping

Unfortunately, mall crimes have risen over the years. Not only are people concerned about robbers and shoplifters, they are also worried about mall shootings, violent fights, and possible terrorist attacks. The times have changed drastically with safety concerns always in mind. Because of most malls’ lack of security and no plan for emergencies, people have to be more aware and alert, usually avoiding the mall altogether. Many search for safer grounds when wanting to hang out or meet up. They feel safer going from their car and right into the store, rather than shop in a huge building with a mass crowd. Shopping at home within their own walls is preferable and gives them peace of mind. With this in mind, retailers find it smart to take their business elsewhere and develop their own security measures.

Indoor shopping malls are becoming a shopper’s Pompeii, as the internet, better economic choices, and peace of mind are increasingly pouring over its existence. Technology has granted us the freedom to be lazy. There is barely any cash left to splurge with after paying bills. The fears of becoming a target are too overwhelming to deal with, so it’s easier to avoid the place. Is it time to pull the plug? Are our average shopping malls worth keeping up and keeping around? The vacancy signs should be a clue.

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