The shopping mall holds a special place in the hearts of most U.S. consumers. But, the stay relevant in the digital age, mallshoppersthese destinations may find that they need to reinvent themselves to improve their appeal. For many mall operators, marketing new types of entertainment and social experiences is the key to the future.

In the past several years, lifestyle centers and power centers have expanded their footprint across the U.S. while regional and super-regional centers have shrunk. Traditional shopping centers are also feeling the pinch from e-commerce. While e-commerce only accounts for 5.4% of retail sales, the percentage is growing.  Analysts are projecting a drop in the sales of traditional retailers that specialize in apparel, books, toys, and home projects through 2018.

Nielsen research shows that women remain the core clients for shopping centers. To keep these consumers interested in the brick and mortar experience, more operators are signing entertainment tenants like bowling alleys, arcades and theaters. The addition of an indoor or outdoor playground also attracts women with younger children who may be looking for a social experience as part of their shopping trip.

Nielsen analysts also point out that the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the U.S., Hispanics and Asian-Americans, have an interest in ethnic products. Operators who sign tenants specializing in these segment should be rewarded with higher foot traffic.

To learn more about Frequent Retail/Mall Shoppers, check out the Audience Interests & Intent Report available at the Research Store on ad-ology.com.

[Source: State of the Shopping Center. Nielsen.com. May 2013. Web. 6 Jun. 2013]