Many may remember the days of long past where malls were bustling hubs of retail activity, social gatherings, and those simply looking to kill some time. The rather sobering reality is that these days, malls rarely resemble such places. Shops that were once full of patrons are now shuttered and food courts that once held hundreds happily eating at a vast variety of restaurants are mostly empty. Due to increased online spending and online retailers who offer products at an irresistible price, shoppers have simply decided to forgo the brick and mortar experience of shopping in a mall and have turned to their computers instead. According to an article by CNBC, a startling estimate states that a quarter of America's remaining malls will close within the next few years. Though this may spell trouble for many malls, it is on a hopeful note to add that there are still many shopping centers that are still operational.
Because of the required limitations relating to the pandemic of COVID-19, many who wish to shop simply are unable to do so. Though more and more shops are allowing a limited number of customers in, some still remain closed until safety measures allow them to reopen. When restrictions do finally fully lift, it is definitely worthy to note the change in the attitude towards brick and mortar businesses. Being cooped up for months is an excellent incentive for those who usually shop online to get out and make a purchase in the flesh. Not only are people eager to shop for products while being able to physically see, feel, and touch them, they are also eager to be in the presence of others. It is this personal quality to shopping in a mall that online retailers lack in all ways and cannot be matched in a virtual setting. Malls that are currently still open require the patronage of its customers to continue to be able to do business. This not only means the success of the stores itself, but of the institution of a retail hub that encourages the community to gather.
Malls represent a physical space of gathering. The holiday season would not feel quite the same without shoppers eagerly making purchases for their loved ones and enjoying a quick dinner in the food court. Teenagers would not have the same experience of meeting up with friends in the mall to have fun after school. Children would not be able to sit on Santa's lap. All of these things define a community and bring those who would not normally socialize in a singular place that is designed to have something for everyone to appreciate. It is together as a community that success prevails.