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11/16/2023

Mall visits trend upwards in October

Zachary Russell
Digital Editor
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Atlanta Atlantic Station mall
Traffic declines were lowest at open-air centers such as Atlanta's Atlantic Station.

Mall traffic increased slightly in October, signaling that more shoppers potentially started to get an early start on holiday shopping.

Compared to retail data firm Placer.ai’s September mall data, year-over-year visit gap lows narrowed to -9% for indoor malls, -6.5% for open-air centers, and -12.4% for outlet malls in October. The last week of October proved to be the most successful for malls since August, with YoY visit gaps shrinking significantly compared to the rest of October.

“Still, even with the narrowing visit gaps, mall visits remain below 2022 levels,” said Shira Petrack, content manager for Placer.ai, in the blog post announcing the October data. “But looking at wider contexts indicates that the ongoing dips in mall visits are the product of a wider retail downturn rather than a reflection of reduced interest in shopping centers.”

Placer.ai’s latest mall index shows that in October, mall visit times increased YoY for all three sectors. Indoor malls saw a median visit time of 61 minutes, open-air shopping centers saw a median visit time of 57 minutes, and outlet malls saw a median visit time of 55 minutes. According to Petrack, the longer mall visits indicate that fewer customers are visiting malls as part of a larger shopping trip and are instead being more strategic, prioritizing mall visits over other retail venues.

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October mall visit time

“The decrease in the share of visitors combining their mall trip with other shopping activity could stem from the one-stop nature of the mall,” she said. “Consumers looking to reign in their spending may be looking for ways to optimize their shopping trips, and getting all their errands done in one place could be one way of increasing efficiency,” she said.

Placer.ai’s Mall Index analyzes data from 100 indoor malls, 100 open-air shopping centers, and 100 outlet malls across the country, in both urban and suburban areas.