REAL ESTATE

Survey: Food critical to shopping center traffic

BY Dan Berthiaume

The way to a shopping center patron’s heart is through their stomach.

A recent survey of more than 1,000 consumers from JDA indicates the top two factors influencing customers to visit an indoor or open-air shopping center more frequently were having unique dining options (46%) and grocery shopping, such as Whole Foods or Trader Joes (42%).

Following closely behind in third place was the convenience of services from shopping at a physical store, including buy online pick up in-stores (BOPIS) or curbside pick-up, with 41% of respondents identifying this as a factor in influencing their shopping decisions. Live music (19%) and fitness facilities (6%) were also contributing factors.

In good news for brick-and-mortar retailers located either in a shopping center or a standalone building, 89% of respondents prefer to see, touch, feel and try out items as part of their purchase experience, and 58% want to take home products immediately.

The survey also examined consumer attitudes toward online clothing rental. Of the roughly 25% of respondents that have used a clothing rental service, the majority (76%) use it for formal or special events (e.g. wedding, prom, etc.). There is more popularity around rental services from younger generations, with 35% of respondents ages 18-29 having already used them, compared to 27% ages 30-44, 24 % ages 45-60, and 12% of respondents ages 60 and over.

When looking at different rental service categories, 23% of all respondents would consider using home furnishing rental services after hearing about recent news like the Rent the Runway’s partnership with West Elm. Similarly, 27% of all respondents would consider using rental services for everyday wear after hearing about Urban Outfitters’ announcement to provide these services.

Other notable findings include:

Sustainability is driving shopping patterns: Over half of those surveyed stated that they would be very likely to purchase products that are considered environmentally friendly or sustainable compared to other products.

Gen Z and Millennials prioritize sustainability most: 27% of respondents between the ages of 18-29 saying they’d be extremely likely to shop with a sustainable retailer, compared to 17% of respondents ages 30-44 and 15% of respondents ages 45 and over-60.

Open-air concept malls are growing popularity: 22% of respondents shopped at outdoor shopping centers at least once a month, while 20% shop at traditional indoor malls at least once a month.

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