How Indian malls are transforming into retail destinations

Published: November 29, 2018 2:32:27 PM

Increased urbanisation, amplifying disposable incomes and lifestyle changes of the denizens are transforming malls into retail destinations.

real estate, real estate investment, real estate in India, commercial real estate, mall, retail destinations, Today’s consumer is continuously experimenting with taste and requirements and this change in their purchasing habits has led to a leap in the way malls operate.

The mall segment in India’s real estate sector has seen a colossal transformation in the last few decades. Increased urbanisation, amplifying disposable incomes and lifestyle changes of the denizens are transforming malls into retail destinations. Allowing 100% FDI in the retail sector has also lead to a surge in the mall culture. As per a recent CBRE report, the first half of 2018 saw an addition of about 1.9 million sq. ft. of fresh supply of retail space across the seven key cities, led by Chennai, Hyderabad and the National Capital Region (NCR).

These malls have swelled up in size, offer a wide variety of options from a cluster of few stores selling branded goods along with varied F&B options. There are considerable F&B formats incorporated into retail mix across cuisines, fine dine, casual, all day cafes, cakery, bars, pubs etc playing an essential role in the growth of retail destinations. These malls are not only a shopping destination but have evolved into entertainment centres creating experience zones for consumers to rejuvenate, socialize and entertain. Today’s consumer is continuously experimenting with taste and requirements and this change in their purchasing habits has led to a leap in the way malls operate. Luxury malls globally have gone a step ahead to provide best-in-class entertainment to visitors. There are malls that have indoor water parks, five-star hotels with luxury suites, snow parks and other features to relax and enjoy.

Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore are known as the hub of malls which are embraced with a spirit of abundance and offer varied opportunities. International brands such as Tom Tailor, Miniso, Taco Bell, Mango, Marks and Spencer, H&M and Starbucks have continued to expand operations by entering new markets across the country. Even home-grown departmental store chains such as Shoppers Stop, Central, Lifestyle, Max and Pantaloons are in an expansionary mode. Multiplex operators such as PVR and Inox have continued to take up space across various cities. The mall culture has seen a massive surge with arrival even in Tier II and Tier III cities which gives an opportunity for international brands to set their foot in the market.

With a rise in working population, the new age entrepreneurs are focusing on a work culture that is more comfortable and has given a rise to the introduction of the co-working spaces in the malls. Since malls provide ready-made infrastructure and other amenities, many co-working or shared office space providers are looking at them as new destinations. Owing to this trend, over the years, there is a hike in the development of mixed-use projects. Office spaces are also becoming common in the retail sector.

The new age working population is technology-savvy. Mall developers are very much aware of this quality of denizens. Malls are trying to change themselves with the changing consumer taste using digital advertising, virtual reality etc. To increase footfall, store owners are shifting to experiences and concept stores which usually are theme-based with great décor. Most prominent brands are moving towards omni-channel retailing, a fully-integrated approach to shopping that provides consumers a unified experience across online and offline platforms. Omni channel shopping extends from brick-and mortar locations to mobile apps, e-commerce marketplaces, onsite storefronts, social media, etc. in order to provide a full shopping experience to consumers.

The onset of mall culture in India was thought to be the driver of growth for the retail and entertainment sector and led to the mushrooming of malls across the country, with mega malls coming up in the metropolitan cities. The Indian mall developers have understood the significance of offering the right combination of retail categories, entertainment and F&B. Thus, the future of these retail destinations is bright in India.

(By Puneet Khullar, Vice President, Brahma Center Development Pvt Ltd)

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