It is a picturesque representation of American consumerism: sprawling walkways leading to the finest retailers, the most iconic department stores, and the most up-to-date fashion lines. It is filled with families, couples, and individuals of all ages, races, backgrounds, and interests looking to spend their money and time. Do you see it? It is the American shopping mall.
Unbeknownst to many, this classic retail mecca is quickly disappearing. After the announcement that department megastore, Macy’s, will soon be closing up to 100 stores in shopping malls across America, many are wondering about the fate of these retail giants. These closures are not unwarranted, however, as data shows that “in 2010, there were 35 million visits to malls, according to the real-estate research firm Cushman and Wakefield. By 2013, there were 17 million visits — a 50% decline” (Lutz, 1). Analysts expect even less visitors to malls as more data slowly becomes available, as Business Insider cites “about 15% of malls will disappear in the next decade, according to a study by Green Street Advisors” (Lutz, 1).
The decline of in-person shopping is no surprise to industry analysts, though, and is a prime example of IMT. Consumers are more attracted the ease and simplicity of online shopping, and those that choose to continue shopping at a brick-and-mortar store would rather do so at discount retailers like Marshall’s or Ross. Online shopping has changed industry standards and the way products are marketed; all products are categorized, with reviews and product descriptions, giving customers the most information possible without actually having the product in their hands. People never have to leave their homes if they want a new wardrobe, a new sound system, or even a new car, which leaves less room for stressful decision-making. Furthermore, the ease at which online consumers can obtain information about the product they are purchasing simplifies their decision-making processes, and has contributed to the vast rise of the industry, and the large decline of the American shopping mall. Even discount retailers are getting in on the action, because less money spent means less stress on the consumer since they have more money. Though an idyllic image of America as a post-industrial society, shopping malls are no longer the simplest option for consumers, leaving their future unstable as online retailers take over the scene.