10 Emerging Trends: Here’s how the pandemic will alter mall culture in 2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic has irrevocably changed the way we go about our daily lives. As we emerge from the after-haze of a year that left us locked in at home with little access to public places, including malls, movie theatres and shopping complexes, we find that we’ve slowly and surely adapted to the new normal.

Throughout the unlock period, shopping malls quickly pandered to dynamic consumer demands, re-strategizing and reinventing the mall experience for visitors, while keeping their fears and safety in mind. From balancing online shopping with brick-and-mortar operations to laying more emphasis on health and wellness brands, malls went the extra mile to keep up with a unique post-COVID customer demand. In this process of upgradation, some new trends have emerged that are set to change mall culture in India.

Here are the top 10 trends that will ride the new wave in 2021:

Change in Fashion Preferences

Fashion has become multifunctional. As people continue to work from home, comfort-fit loungewear will dominate 2021. Changing your wardrobe to suit different events is a thing of the past. People are taking their loungewear to town! With more influencers promoting this category, comfort wear will rule the fashion roost this year. At their end, malls are also looking at bringing a diverse range of sustainable and eco-friendly loungewear brands for customers. Already, eco-friendly fabrics are the in-thing and will pick up momentum in 2021.

Home Décor, the New Mall Magnet

Post the pandemic, home is where the heart stays. More people are revamping and renovating their homes to entail multi-functionality. In the past few months, homes have become shape shifters switching between becoming an entertainment den, an office, a sleepover destination to even a playground for kids, which is why home decor has never been bigger than in 2021. Quirky artefacts, furnishings, stackable furniture, workplace essentials and decor items will fly off the shelves, making home decor stores the go-to-place in malls in 2021.

Ease of Use & Convenience for Home Appliances

Every member is sharing the load when it comes to household chores. Becoming self-reliant and good at it, therefore, is key to the efficient running of the mother ship. Home appliances like washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers that are easy to use and convenient have seen an increase in sales throughout the pandemic and will continue to be in demand in 2021. With cinema houses still clocking restricted footfalls, TV’s, iPads, etc., have also become an alternate source of entertainment.

Self-Care & Wellness on the Rise:

As consumers slow down their pace of life and function more or less out of home, they find themselves with a lot of precious ‘me time’. They are indulging in grooming themselves, experimenting with their looks and practising yoga and home work-outs, all great for the wellness of their mind and body. They are more conscious about taking care of their skin and hair, which has, in turn boosted the cosmetics and beauty segment. Brands that use and advertise traditional ingredients and ancient formulae for skin and hair care are particularly doing well and will have a strong following this year. It is not just the home workouts, but people are indulging in marathon runs too. The upcoming Inorbit mall Hyderbad’s first marathon of this year too has received lot of participation.

Focus on Immunity Building & Home Cooking

During the lockdown eating out was a complete no-no, but even with India opening up, consumers still prefer to cook and eat healthy food at home. This in turn, has led to a mad dash for exotic ingredients and immunity building foods as also an increased demand for fermented products like yogurt, healthy teas and probiotics that are gradually becoming part of the daily routine.

Doorstep Shopping Experience

When you cannot step out to go to the market, the market comes to you. This concept of a shop-on-wheels has been really well received by consumers who’ve had their purchases delivered right to their doorsteps. In fact, even malls have risen to the challenge and set up shops within the premises of large housing complexes to provide residents with the convenience of shopping from the safety of their doorsteps. Inorbit Mall piloted this initiative in Bangalore and followed it up in Mumbai.

Rise of micro Influencers & User Generated Content (UGC)

Every brand is seeking the help of influencers to promote themselves. It’s not about the big influencers anymore, micro influencers are also coming up now due to the engagement rate on social media. Individual consumers are putting their views to there on products and services they’ve used through vlogs, blogs and social media posts. Brands have become more responsible about what they are selling because one bad review could tarnish their image. Home décor, beauty and health & fitness have been the ruling categories on social media.

Increased Use of Instagram Reels & Filters

Brands are increasingly relying on short term product posts, reviews and hauls. With newly-introduced features like Instagram reels and filters catching the consumer’s fancy, brands have begun to create fun, quirky, snackable content.

Digital events

On-ground events have taken a back seat as a result of the pandemic making digital events the flavour of the season. Through a host of innovative, interactive digital events across genres and for all age-groups, malls have transformed the consumer landscape making the virtual world as real. Inorbit malls has been hosting digital events like the virtual party with influencers and celebrities for some time now.

Enhancing Convenience with the Use of Technology

With many consumers preferring a minimal contact shopping experience, mobile / video shopping has witnessed a surge. Malls like Inorbit have introduced the WhatsApp video shopping feature that gives consumers the advantage to browse through products and shop from anywhere using the video calling feature.

These emerging trends will dominate consumer behavior in malls in 2021, relying heavily on digitization as well as fast-changing consumer patters to offer the best-in-class shopping experience.

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