At the just concluded 11th Malaysian Property Summit, an interesting talk was on the state of retail space in the country. As many as 27 new malls are expected to enter the market in Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL). In the next three years, it is estimated that the GKL area will have 197 malls in total. The retail market would continue to be challenging as new malls not only have to compete with other, more-established malls, they also must compete for relatively the same pool of potential customers. Are malls losing their appeal, with the ever-growing popularity of online shopping? What do you think?
We still need physical shops because the majority of consumers still prefer to be able to see and assess actual products, even if they end up ordering the products online later.
With the variety of merchandise available online, it will be tough for malls to compete.
Malls still have a place in our society. People may not head to the malls strictly to buy things, but for dining and entertainment.
It’s hard to find an alternative where you get both, and with so many choices to choose from, all under one roof.
The US and Europe are in the same shape. Retailers are closing physical stores in favour of online retail instead, which is cheaper to operate and able to reach a wider audience. Singapore, however, is different. Probably because Asians love going to malls even if only for the airconditioning or to window shop. I feel that the situation in Malaysia is similar. Malls that cater to both high-end consumers and the masses will survive. So too will malls that offer everything under one roof, from shopping to dining to entertainment and other recreational experiences. The bottomline is, malls need to constantly innovate to keep up their appeal and attract consumers who will not just walk in, but hopefully spend their money there too.