Tiburon Research, a Russian research company, has surveyed 1,000 respondents online to estimate shopping center traffic only to find that it has dwindled 30%. The pollster canvassed residents of Moscow, St. Petersburg and other million-plus cities.
Visitor traffic at shopping centers has noticeably decreased since the beginning of this year: 30% of respondents in Moscow and 34% in other million-plus cities said they were less likely to shop there now. About 3% dropped out over the last six months, mostly citing economic reasons – rising prices have made them reconsider their spending and scrimp. Incidentally, Moscow is not much different from other big cities in this respect.
As many as 53% of respondents said they have been shopping for clothes and shoes less often lately; 40% are scrimping on household and interior décor items and 35%, on cosmetics and accessories. Apart from not buying stuff as often as they used to, many people have cut their visits to cinemas, food courts and beauty salons. In fact, they are trying to spend less on these goods and services even if they still continue to visit shopping centers. And about a fifth of respondents began to choose other places to spend time with friends.
“Shopping centers have long grown to be more than just assortments of various stores,” says Irina Bardadymova, head of Tiburon Research. True, 80% of visitors still go there for shopping, but two-thirds also regularly visit food courts, and every third visitor comes to watch a movie or just see friends. Until recently, almost every fourth woman used to visit beauty salons located in shopping centers, and more than 10% of men used fitness clubs or other sports facilities at malls. As we see now, these activities are becoming less and less popular.”
About half of Muscovites said they saw no point in visiting shopping centers after a number of foreign brands had left Russia, and 25% noted there were fewer goods on offer. Incidentally, these factors turned out to be more sensitive for men than for women, possibly because it is more difficult to find an alternative, as there are fewer brands that offer men’s collections.
“The future of shopping centers depends on what steps their owners and tenants are ready to take,” Irina Bardadymova comments. “At the moment, buyers are still hoping that the stores that used to be the reason they went shopping may reopen, so right now, they may be reluctant to shift to different brands. However, this is hardly an insurmountable barrier – although they have little enthusiasm, people are ready to explore new stores that will open on the vacated premises, selling Russian or Turkish goods, as well as brands from China, India, and Brazil.”