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Teens Are Heading Back To Malls

A new survey shows that one of the most desired demographics is making its way back to the retail wonderlands.

The typical story that makes the rounds on shopping malls in the United States will point out that declining foot traffic points to the end of the industry as we know it and that we’re just seconds away from veritable ghost towns taking the place of once-viable retail centers. According to Benzinga, a recent survey paints a different picture - and it’s actually a really encouraging sign for the future of the shopping mall industry. 

A new survey from William Blair shows that one of the most desired demographics for US shopping malls is making its way back to the retail wonderlands. The survey reveals that teens are increasingly visiting malls. William Hill questioned both teens and young adults, and 41% of teen respondents indicated that they are visiting malls more frequently this year - the first such increase since 2013. 

Malls have long been the stomping grounds of the teen sect, and when one flashes back to the 1980s and 1990s, it’s not hard to have visions of malls packed to the brim with young shoppers. That scene could be on its way back, as 24% of teen respondents indicated that the mall was the top spot to go and meet up with friends. This survey has not escaped the notice of analysts, who are certainly well aware of the significance of the survey results. 

In the mall

“While overall mall traffic remains challenging, our survey this year noted a material increase in the number of respondents who indicated they are visiting malls more often than last year, perhaps suggesting that malls’ efforts to increase relevancy (through more experiential brands and the addition of attractive entertainment and dining options) are beginning to bear fruit,” explains analyst Sharon Zackfia.

As for the reasons, it could be as simple as the concept of ‘what’s old is new again.’ Teens are known for grabbing on to things they view as ‘retro’ and making them cool again, and perhaps they’re doing that by heading on back to the stomping grounds of their parents. Once they’re there, they’re also realizing that this is not the mall of the past. More dining options, more interactive activities, and retailers that specifically target the teen demographic are sure to capture their attention and keep them coming back for more. That bodes well for the future as well, as these teen shoppers will quickly become young adults who are already accustomed to visiting the mall to enjoy all it has to offer.  

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