“Hi, this delivery is for you from amazon”
Ah, the online shopping.
An easy way to get everything you need at your fingertips. Most people in America, if not all, have used online shopping even once in their lives. But when it comes to shopping malls, the new generation has barely visited them. Compared to the X generation, which is the generation before the current generation, they have been in a mall a very few times in their lives. With the technological advancements which are raging through the world, soon, online shopping will be much more convenient in many ways. This will result in the flocking of people around online shopping services and abandoning the malls.
The topic, ‘Abandoned Malls” is a quite extra-ordinary topic according to some people, because they actually don’t have clue about this issue. Even that shows us how ignorant are people about shopping malls. There was a time in modern history where you had to say “Excuse me!” a million times in order to get to the other side of a shopping mall through the crowd gathered in there. But in the present, you will have to look attentively if you are to say that the mall is open for business. The popularity and the customers it gains are at such a low level. Now, the reason for this is not entirely because of the advent of online shopping. It is undoubted that the online shopping facilities affected the shopping mall business a great deal, but that is just not all.
The unnecessary wealth gap is also responsible for this issue which has startled many investors and businessmen throughout the country, if not the world. Though the number of retail customers that shopping malls receive declines year by year, the rate of retail vacancy is on the rise every moment. This is a pre-prediction of the slow deteriorating of the shopping malls in the next decade or so. The managing director at Transwestern, a full-service real estate company, Nick Hernandez, had mentioned that the decline has only affected a set of malls. To be more specific, he says that class A malls are strong as always but class B, C malls succumb to the wrath of online shopping and some other factors. Class B, C malls were deteriorating even before all these, but now the rate of downfall has quickened. Oliver Chen, the managing director of retail and the luxury sector at Cowen and Company, a financial services firm, says the decline of the traffic to the malls is about -5%. He further predicts that roughly 30% of the B and C tiered malls may have to be closed or re-purposed over the next decade.
According to Lizbeth Cohen, malls used to be a new kind of community space for scattered suburb dwellers in the second half of the twentieth century. In 1947 and 1952, the population of the suburbs rose by 43 percent. The suburbs were rather rich and more socialist. The businessmen foresaw the results of the investments placed in public spaces to socialize in suburbs and took immediate decisions in building shopping malls in the suburbs. This made downtown locations go to waste but the results lasted not forever. These days the apparent is that people tend to shop in big-box stores like Walmart avoiding the retail shopping mall stores.
Unfortunately, even as of now, hundreds of retail shops have closed and will continue to do so. RadioShack, Macy’s, and Sears have each announced more than 100 store closures. Payless has been filed for bankruptcy in 2017. There are hundreds of cases like this throughout the country.
The dramatic part is that though most of the storefronts are struggling to keep up with the ongoing economic instability, the commoners are vaguely aware of this. This issue is not an outward struggle, but a close observer can notice the demise. The issue is an internal struggling issue where storekeepers are struggling internally to keep their businesses alive. However, the end result was that the public is still unaware of the raging economic crisis of the shopping malls. After all, how would they feel or know this? They do not visit the shopping malls often. They shop online. So there is no way that this issue gets to people rapidly.
Though this is sure to be an international crisis one day, it is still not. It still prevails mostly in America and some developed countries. The 3rd tier countries are starting to feel the symptoms but the issue has not yet been raised. People in those countries still enjoy the availability of shopping malls. They are quite ignorant about the issue. Even for citizens in America, the news is not well known. Though the communication facilities are fast as ever, people are ignoring the issue. It is discreetly spreading amongst the retail stores throughout the country while damaging the economy of most businessmen in the country.
Income inequality is also affecting this incident. The retail stores, the small shops inside of malls were built targeting middle-class families. But with the income inequality that the people are withstanding, makes the middle class rather low on money to buy things that their heart desires. This has compelled them to go after big box stores like Walmart. These stores provide a wide array of items at bargain prices. Due to this, these stores have gained the popularity of society at their best. According to some, this is the main reason for the demise of retail stores or malls. Economists suggest that one of every 4 malls will close by the year 2022. This is a very dangerous situation to the stability of the economy too.
People regard this issue as a common and not very urgent matter. But if the suggestion of the economists becomes true, what about the people working in those malls? Malls have provided occupations to many suburb dwellers. It is not just a place to socialize for the suburban people. It is a place of economic culture. The workers in the malls are completely relying on the existence of the malls. Those people will surely break from the economical balance if they were to be thrown out of their occupations. As the things are going on, with the pandemic, the retailers are experiencing a rather steep downward curve in their incomes and the number of sales. So basically, things are continuing to get worse. The suggestion of the economists will soon be true with the ongoing situation and many lives will suffer.
The main reason I chose this is because of the importance of this incident to the economy of the whole world. Though for now it is limited to certain areas in my opinion, in the near future, things will get much worse and many will lose their jobs and the entire economy will undergo a certain downward curve. These facts backed up by the pandemic going on, will make the economy of the country very unstable if relevant measures are not to be taken very immediately. In addition to that, these malls can be repurposed for much better causes also. I have personally seen an abandoned mall repurposed to be an award-winning library with thousands of books. Therefore, there are many other ways to make use of these large buildings in case they had to be closed in the future. If not, the income irregularity and also the vast number of malls have to be reduced in considerable amounts. It will increase the exposure to the remaining amount of malls and will also direct middle-class people to the retail shops.
As for the conclusion, I would like to emphasize that this issue is not only about the advent of online marketplaces. As the experts say, the percentage of the impact online shopping has on the demise of the shopping malls is about 5%, which is not very considerate. However, things like the income inequality, which makes the middle class be somewhat downed, have impacted more on this urgent issue. This should be addressed as soon as possible because this focuses on the economy of all the citizens of America. The occupations of many suburban people, the socializing place for many people will be terminated if we keep things going in this direction. In order to turn it, the solutions I presented above will be helpful. Online Shopping should also be limited in a way because it affects the popularity of the malls to a certain extent too.
In my opinion, it is still not late to make the right decisions to save the malls from existence. This is worth trying because of the thousands of people that will lose their jobs otherwise. The direct influence of the authorities is much essential in this situation to close down some low exposed malls in order to concentrate the sales traffic to the others. The closing malls can be given with shares to the prevailing ones also. In addition to that, the mall buildings can be reproduced for many purposeful tasks. For example, the Google Glass headquarters is also an abandoned mall. But now, it is an attractive HQ where hundreds of people work. It is very essential to get to know the issue well and treat this immediately in order to get the economy back under control.