Despite the boom in digital marketing and online shopping, consumers still make the vast majority of their purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. Shopping centers aren’t just places to buy things. They’re social centers, places for entertainment and employment hubs. They’re also transforming what consumers can expect from a shopping experience.
With the increasing diversification and aging of the U.S. population, the line between shopping, entertainment, and community building has blurred. This blending of experiences has created an opportunity for retail to strengthen social ties within communities looking for communal experiences. And, it’s not just the new entrants that are getting involved in the trend. Not surprisingly, many big box retailers have downsized their formats to better meet shopper expectations and desires for more of an experience destination.
At a regional or core-based statistical area (CBSA)-level, various trends emerge in shopping center composition. One thing is clear in looking at the past five years: operators are shif ting away from the
traditional enclosed mall and opting for smaller, specialty lifestyle centers. Regional and super regional centers tend to have a large footprint making new development a challenge in a tough real estate market. Lifestyle centers tend to be more heavily concentrated in urban areas, while the larger regional and super-regional centers tend to be more heavily concentrated in suburban and rural areas.