Name some of the key desires of millenials and Gen Zers that operators of public gathering places should attend to?
Gen Zers and millennials both place high value on experiences, so it’s important for gathering places to offer them experiences that they can’t find elsewhere. In our recent study of traffic patterns to malls with different types of anchors, we found that Gen Z and millennials were both more likely to go to malls with experiential anchors like unique art exhibits or entertainment centers than they were to more traditional shopping centers. Gen Z and millennials are also both careful with their money overall, and looking for bargains while not sacrificing quality. We see that the mall-going Gen Zers and millennials over-index in both our “Bargain Hunting” and “Fashionista” interest groups.
How should retailers and center owners appeal to young, affluent people, while at the same time still courting less affluent customers? Can it be done in a single location?
In our recent research looking at malls with different types of anchors -- including big-box, grocery, healthcare, department stores, and experiential -- we found that people with household incomes topping $100,000 are more likely to visit malls with grocery or healthcare anchors, while malls with experiential anchors attract people in lower-income brackets. We also found that the experiential and healthcare anchored malls had recovered footfall better since the start of pandemic than other types of anchors by attracting visitors from a wider trade area than the rest of the mall. If a center had both experiential and healthcare anchors in a single location it could attract a mix of higher and lower-income visitors and attract visitors from a wider trade area than other types of mall anchors.
What else does your research tell shopping center operators to take into consideration as they look to maximize traffic?
It continues to be important to focus on key dining experiences. Those are highly valued interests across all mall-goers. Regardless of the type of anchor, we saw three interesting personas heavily over index: “Fast Foodies,” “Casual Diners,” and “Coffee Lovers.” Having solid offerings around those areas is always a good way to go. I’ll also emphasize again the importance of using data intelligence to stay tuned into rapidly changing consumer preferences, and to be ready to adapt and innovate your mall infrastructure, marketing strategy, or operations to meet evolving needs.