It is no secret that online shopping is a convenient and easy way to access store products, resulting in malls losing their popularity. This shift has happened slowly over time, but has seemed more dramatic recently due to the pandemic.
Kaylee Johnston, store leader at Altar’d State in Montgomery Mall, believes “the pandemic and the convenience of online shopping has made the shift of online versus in person.”
COVID-19 has made many people nervous to go out to places such as the mall, because it can be crowded during its peak hours and close proximity to others may make people uncomfortable.
Johnny Hoang, a sophomore psychology major on a pre-PA track, prefers online shopping. He considers malls to be a busy environment that can be anxiety inducing. On the other hand, the Montgomery Mall Altar’d State has seen quite the opposite trend; Johnston says their traffic has been up “106% compared to last year.” This sign could make people hopeful that malls could stick around.
Johnston acknowledges that even though they may not be experiencing traffic issues, she knows “a lot of companies and malls are struggling.” Luckily, there are still people who prefer to shop in person who can save struggling businesses.
Shoppers like freshman architecture major Emily Eshel prefer to shop in person. “I enjoy in person shopping a lot more. It is not such an everyday occurrence that I am able to go to the mall,” she said. She believes that it is an enjoyable and rare occasion to be able to go to the mall for some people;it can be made into a whole day experience and that makes shopping even more exciting.
Eshel also finds it is important to be able to try items on and see them for herself before making a purchase. Online shopping may be convenient, but for some shoppers, nothing beats seeing the items with their own eyes.
Johnston also says the products at the mall are “on trend right now” with the benefit of great customer service while shopping in-person.
While it is difficult to predict the future for malls, it does not seem like they will be going anywhere anytime soon. Even shoppers like Hoang who prefer shopping online, say “there is an atmosphere that malls provide that would make them stay around forever.” Hoang specifically loves the busy and lively aspects of the atmosphere.
The pandemic and convenience of technology has taken a toll on malls, but there are people who still prefer the experience of shopping in person. Only time will tell if mall popularity will decline, but it seems that malls are here to stay for now.