Shopping Centre News in association with Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI) conducted a survey on ‘Consumer Sentiments, Behaviour and Comparisons of Sales in Festival Season (2019-2020)’ to find out the exact situation of the Shopping Centre Industry on the ground. The survey analyses the details of how shopping malls have been performing since the onset of the festive season post COVID (from October to December) specifically gaining insights on sales, footfalls, dwell time, conversions, consumer demographics and out-of-the-box retail innovations, etc. as compared to the previous year.
35 shopping malls pan India (from Tier I, II& III cities), participated in the survey and the results were quite overwhelming. Though the percentage in sales, revenue, footfall has been less in comparison to last year, the conversion rate and revival rate saw a huge surge. As a result, mall developers are looking forward to a speedy recovery in comparison to what they had predicted during the initial stages of lockdown.
1All India – Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
Shopping malls survive on footfalls. If people are not walking into malls to shop, eat, gain experiences, and be entertained, the mall will not survive even if it has the best of brands, is the largest mall in area and is considered to be the best run and most popular among its peers. The COVID-19 pandemic was a body blow to the Shopping Centre Industry because first, people were not allowed to come out of their houses in lockdown and second, when the lockdown was lifted, consumers themselves were scared of contracting the rapidly spreading virus.
- The arrival of festival and wedding season saw, consumers finally started coming out to shop in the malls in good number. Despite this, there was decline in footfalls by 53 percent in comparison to the festival season in 2019. However, the rise in conversion rate was a huge boost for the malls but the reduced dwell time indicated that despite all the excitement and enthusiasm, shoppers visited mall to make urgent purchases in quick time, in all the categories.
- Since re-opening, shopping malls have seen footfalls on weekly basis. As we have reported in our earlier edition as well that how footfalls and average dwell time in shopping malls have increased gradually since reopening. Since October most shopping malls pan India reported a increase in the footfalls and most of them happily welcomed around 80 percent of the normal footfall in their premises. To everyone’s surprise malls in Tier II & III cities reported started getting more footfalls in comparison to Tier I cities mall from the month of September only.
- Increased men share and decreased kids share in footfalls vouch for precautionary shopping, accompanied by women with almost same share
- The core shopper (74 percent share) remained in the age group of 15-45 years – an age group reported to be better immune to virus impact than kids and old-age people. The group showed 4 percent differential gain over previous year’s share
2Footfalls in Metro Cities
- Metro-city Conversion differential remained higher than All-India.
- Going by the survey results, shopping malls pan India recorded a healthy turnout in between 15,000- 20,000 in approximately 20 percent of the malls on a daily basis. Around 45 percent of the malls recorded a daily footfall of over 10,000 people. The initial days of July and August had earlier reported a large number of men shoppers in malls only as most of the women stayed back at home. With offices reopening and also due to the festivals, a large section of the women finally returned to their favourite shopping destinations both in malls as well as on high streets. Every shopping mall reported more than 40 percent of shoppers being women in these months. Around 10 percent of malls reported 60 percent of their buyers as women.
- Age group 15-30 years saw a marginal drop in metro-city against a gain of 4% on All-India basis whilst the age group of 30-45 years gained improved share of 11%.
- Gender wise share in footfalls is similar to All-India.
3Footfalls in Tier I Cities
- Tier 1 cities delivered lowest of conversion rate despite showing a differential gain of 7 percent.
- Gender wise share in footfalls remained same in Tier I cities too.
- 86 percent of shoppers belonged to age group of 15-60 years. Age group of 45-60 years, though considered vulnerable to COVID, showed differential gain of 9 percent in Tier I city in comparison to 2019 share.
4Footfalls in Tier II Cities
Tier II cities delivered highest conversion rate among all city types.
- No major change in gender wise share in footfalls
- Tier II cities also followed the larger trend of major shoppers in the age group of 15-60 years though group 45-60 years showed marginal rise over previous year.
- Overall share of 45-60 years group has increased in Tier 1 and 2 cities against a decline trend in metro cities and on all-India basis
As more and more shoppers are coming out of their homes, a huge incline was witnessed in the shoppers above 50 years as well. Even the elderly and women shoppers were accompanied by the kids. About 20 percent of the malls reported kids percentage going up by 15-20 percent, which was absolutely zero in the month of July. Around 40 percent of malls reported an increase of elderly shoppers by 30 percent.
The average dwell time spent also increased during the festival season. The average dwell time more most malls in July-August was in between 45 minutes to 1.30 hours depending on the waiting line and COVID safety measures checking process. This drastically increased to 2.30 hours and above since October. People are spending more and more time in the malls by either visiting the restaurants, kiosks and joints inside the mall. The average dwell time in retail stores has also increased to above one hour, despite trial rooms still not being functional. As cinemas and multiplexes have also opened up in few shopping malls, those malls are witnessing consumers spending around 3-4 hours as well. Even people have started booking restaurants and gaming zones with limited number of visitors for birthdays and other parties and therefore it is also adding to the footfalls and revenue both for the malls and brand.
5Growing & Mature Malls: Footfalls
- Growing malls transformed into Mature malls in 2020 and faced the most challenging year marred by COVID
- Women formed the largest share in footfalls in growing & mature mall segments.
- Mall segments attracted increased share of young visitors (15-30 years) and gained with 12 percent differential.
SCN and SCAI contacted shopping malls from all regions across pan India and as per the responses. We categorized the malls according to their GLA, cities (mainly Tier I, II & III), mall size, occupancy, conversion, catchment, categories in demand, categories suffering etc.
10Shopping Malls Performance in Festival Season
The conversion rate has been a big boost for all the shopping malls throughout the time after reopening. During the lockdown and the unlocking phase, most of the shoppers were doing only the essential shopping resulting in very high conversion rates. From August end- and September onwards, even when other categories (including non–essentials) items started getting footfalls and purchase, the conversion remained the same. In the festival season, every single mall reported higher conversion rate than that in 2019. The conversion rate, footfalls and average dwell time of malls participating in the survey (from September to December 2020) is listed Above:
11Shopping Malls Performance in Festival Season
12The Response So Far
Performing Categories COVID-19 saw consumers turning into serious and focused buyers. A huge change was witnessed in the shopping behavior of the consumers and more or less every shopping mall had similar observations. As per the survey result, consumers initially shopped for essential items and later purchased lots of electronics, home appliances etc as a large majority of population is still working from home. However, festival season brought back the charm for apparels and accessories segment as people shopped quite a lot in the casual wear segment. With offices finally opening up to an extent, certain malls reported an incline in the formal wear and footwear segment as well.
- Footfall shortfall resulted in decline in sales across all categories over previous year, least and highest being in Consumer Electronics (-23%) and Foodservice (-48%). Yet all categories except Foodservice reported growth over 2019 performance in few malls. Top 3 categories with High growths are Beauty & wellness (51%), Athleisure (29%) and Jewellery & watches (20%).
“Since reopening, all our malls have shown consistent growth in footfall and consumption. Malls that opened earlier have shown promising growth with categories reaching their previous numbers. Vadodara has given us highest recovery, followed by Malad and Cyberabad. Vashi Mall has also shown a gradual increase,” says Naviin Ibhrampurkar, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Inorbit Malls.
13The Response So Far
For Paciﬁc Malls (Tagore Garden, Ghaziabad and Dwarka) October recorded around 60 percent of the last year’s footfall performance. With cinemas attendance increasing, Paciﬁ c aims to clock 75 percent by the November end. DLF Malls are also witnessing footfalls near about 50 percent of pre-COVID days across all their malls. A major contribution to the footfall in the last few months has been coming from the fashion brands followed by F&B outlets for them.
“For Select CITYWALK, post lockdown the most visitors were serious buyers and the footfall they received is about 55 percent of the total footfall in last two months. “Over the weekend, we are getting 30,000 visitors which is around 60 percent of the footfall in the normal time,” says Yogeshwar Sharma, Executive Director & CEO, Select CITYWALK.
For Junction Mall, the footfall in June, July & August was around 2000 average footfall per day in fashion categories which grew to around 7000 average footfall per day in September & October. The major reason responsible was the festival season shopping which boosted the walkins and sale.
14The Response So Far
For Nexus Malls across all their portfolios footfall has been across 50 percent from the last year. As malls in Maharashtra opened very late due to safety measures, Nexus saw a quick turnout from December due to Christmas and New Year.
Restaurants and ﬁne dining in malls with 50 percent occupancy turned out to be one of the key highlights in the festive season. Though this segment was open throughout the unlocking phase for delivery services, but in past 50 days, restaurants and food cafes do welcomed the food lovers across in large numbers during festival season.
In the apparel category, around 10 percent of the shopping malls reported a sale of more than 100 percent sales in comparison to the festive sales in 2019. 60 percent of malls recorded a sale in between 50-70 percent from the last year sale record. Athleisure turned out to be another revenue generating segment for the malls with a sale record of above 100 percent from 2019. The other performing categories in this season with sale of 100 percent from the previous year sale are home interiors, jewellery, consumer electronics, F&B etc.
For DLF Malls, festive season along with wedding season saw a good business turnout for ethnic and festive wear. Brand categories such as jewellery, ethnic wear, fusion wear is also doing good sales followed by lifestyle wear. Athleisure is proving to be the fastest-growing fashion category during COVID times.
15The Response So Far
For Select CITYWALK, apart from casual wear and athleisure, footwear and formalwear also saw a good opening. “Consumers so far were working from home and therefore the focus was on categories such as casual wear and athleisure. But since October, people have started going to work and also are travelling to the nearest tourist destination, and due to the festivals we noticed a lot more happening with ethnic wear and formal wear. We have seen a lot of accessory brands doing well too,” says Sharma.
Inorbit Malls observed more demand for categories like electronics, ﬁtness and lifestyle, skincare and jewellery across their malls. Interestingly, in the last few months, some categories like cosmetics have seen more growth compared to last year sales.
For Junction Mall, the initial months post lockdown footwear, leisure wear, casual wear etc were sharing major portion in the revenue. Due to the arrival of festive season, all categories started performing, with casual and ethnic segments marking a sale of over 100 percent. Much credit of this turnout goes to the timely management of supply and logistics which was taken care in a very organised way due to the festival season.
Most shopping malls conducted appealing and exciting campaigns in order to attract more consumers to their premises. The festival season saw plethora of campaigns at regular intervals lined up for both Durga Puja and Diwali months. By Christmas and New Year, more campaigns and events were added to this list and hence resulted in getting a good turnout in the shopping malls pan India.