Shopping Malls are being transformed by the demand for social experiences

Published April 3, 2023

SAN JOSE, CA, “The new generation is taking the concept of shopping to the next level by demanding a holistic experience that combines the opportunity for shopping, living and leisure and socially interactive experiences”, according to Muhammed A. Chaudhry , General Partner at DJM Capital Partners.

Gone are the days when shopping malls were typically located in the suburbs and surrounded by parking lots.

A new generation of fashion-conscious, lifestyle-loving shoppers is creating a demand for an alternative shopping experience. The latest evolution in the shopping mall is the infusion of smaller shop fronts, supported by e-commerce solutions and containing a mix of residential quarters, leisure facilities and food and beverage outlets. Investors and owners are looking beyond conventional development sites and becoming increasingly creative in their new-wave shopping mall designs. For example, in the US, home of the original shopping mall, an ageing 1960s vintage indoor mall in Huntington Beach has been transformed into an open-air Tuscan-inspired town centre.

The developers DJM Capital Partners and PGIM undertook the project as part of a plan to convert dysfunctional unused buildings into usable spaces that bolster the economy and offer more choice and convenience for consumers.

“Some of the conversions involve rethinking the concept of malls in an era when younger Millennials and Generation Z members seem increasingly disinclined to drive. To sustain a mall into the next generation, it should be embedded in a mix of activated, walkable uses, including residential,” explains Mr Chaudhry .

DJM’s vision for future shopping malls includes densifying the perimeter with entertainment, office space, and multifamily housing to expand foot traffic, especially within the retail sphere.

“The traditional shopping experience will never be copied. Now as we rise to meet the demand for future shopping experiences, we are reimaging how consumers can enjoy a shopping experience that supports their living, lifestyle and social choices”, added Chaudhry.

As a shopper’s paradise, Dubai is home to some of the most prolific shopping malls in the world. In 2021, the area of shopping malls in Dubai reached 5.4 million square metres.

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