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Consumers Across Financial Lifestyles Want Malls That Fit Their Needs

Simon mall

While malls may not often be associated with living the high life, luxury and aspirational shoppers want to get all their retail needs met in one place as much as any other consumer.

Simon, which owns shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use sites, announced in a Monday (May 20) press release a new “luxury lifestyle” development at Fashion Valley, which integrates 850 residences into the designer retail hub.

“We’re excited about this next phase of Fashion Valley as we continue to reinvest and add a walkable, livable lifestyle community that is intertwined with handpicked luxury brands that can only be found here,” Simon President of Development Mark Silvestri said in the release. “This redevelopment marks a new era of sophistication and convenient living in San Diego.”

The majority of high-income shoppers continue to want physical stores, although they may be more likely than other consumers to make purchases digitally, per the PYMNTS Intelligence study “2024 Global Digital Shopping Index: U.S. Edition,” created in collaboration with Visa Acceptance Solutions. The report, which drew from a survey of more than 2,400 consumers, revealed that two-thirds of high-income shoppers engage with physical stores at some point in their retail journey, whether they are making the purchase there or picking up their order.

Luxury malls host a curated selection of high-end designer brands that are often not available in standalone stores or other retail environments, all under one roof, providing a convenient and comprehensive shopping experience. Yet a key challenge for designer shopping centers is the high operational costs associated with luxury environments and services. Economic fluctuations can impact luxury spending, making it crucial for operators to build strong relationships with tenants to weather economic downturns.

Meanwhile, Tanger, the real estate company known for its outlet malls, is optimistic about the rest of the year, with expansion plans on the books. The company sees the opportunity to attract aspirational consumers who seek out premium items for more affordable prices, especially during challenging economic times.

“We always say we operate at the intersection of brands and value,” Justin Stein, executive vice president of leasing for Tanger, told PYMNTS in an interview this month. “When you shop our centers, you see a lot of name brands. And why is that? Well, the average person is looking to buy a brand at the best possible value. That’s another reason why when things get a little bit challenging, that’s where we accelerate.”

Outlet malls offer discounts on premium and designer brands, making them accessible to aspirational shoppers who desire luxury items but are budget-conscious. Plus, these shopping centers frequently carry past-season items, overstock or factory seconds, which are often sold at lower prices. This availability allows aspirational shoppers to access items that may no longer be available in regular retail stores, adding a unique appeal to outlet shopping.

As consumer preferences continue to evolve, malls are adapting to meet the diverse needs of shoppers across different financial lifestyles. As both luxury and aspirational consumers seek convenience and a sense of community in their shopping experiences, malls are reimagining their offerings to create vibrant, integrated spaces that reflect the changing retail landscape and cater to the evolving needs of a diverse clientele.

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