Declining Mall Shopper Traffic in 2023

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Does population growth alone equal more shopper traffic for some of America’s malls?

We used Unacast Insights to analyze shopper traffic at four large malls across the U.S., in both growing and shrinking states and counties.

All four malls saw foot traffic rise overall from Q2 2020 through Q3 2022, but traffic for each mall has dropped since late 2022, with the losses ranging from minus-1% to about minus-21%.

Each of the four malls we examined is highlighted below.

Mall of America Shopper Traffic

60 E Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425

Shrinking state, shrinking county, higher income.

  • While Minnesota (-187,649) and Minneapolis (-112,310) have a declining population as of June 2023, several suburban zip codes in the area are growing. This is a large mall complex, located near an airport, close to the suburbs, with a dedicated light-rail transit station;
  • This is a weekend destination (busiest days are Saturdays and Sundays). 45% of the people that visit here earn $75,000 or more in average median income annually, and about 39% hold a college degree;
  • Overall, visitor traffic to the Mall of America in June 2022 was down ~1.1% compared to the previous year; 
  • Given previous year’s trends, we expect to see a rise in total visitors in July of 2023 versus June of 2023, but a decline in total visitors versus the same month in 2022, when 1.4 million visits were logged, the highest monthly total in the three year period we studied.
Month Visitors Change YoY Month Visitors Change MoM
June 2020 258,000 July 2020 517,000 +100%
June 2021 965,000 +374% July 2021 1,100,000 +14%
June 2022 1,000,000 +4% July 2022 1,400,000 +40%
June 2023 987,000 -1% July 2023 ? ?

Scottsdale Fashion Square Shopper Traffic

7014 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Growing state, shrinking county, higher income.

  • While the population of the state of Arizona is growing (+17,732), Maricopa County (-3,593) and the Phoenix area generally have a declining population as of June 2023. Most growth is to the southeast, in Pinal County;
  • This is a large, up-scale mall complex, located in the center of an affluent suburban area;
  • This is a weekend destination (busiest days are Saturdays and Sundays). 45% of the people that visit here earn $75,000 or more in average median income annually, and about 38% hold a college degree;
  • Overall, visitor traffic to Scottsdale Fashion Square in June 2022 was down ~3.3% compared to the same month in the previous year; the top month for visits was December 2021 (517,000);
  • Given previous year’s trends, we expect to see a drop in total visitors in July of 2023 versus June of 2023, and a decline in total visitors versus the same month in 2022.
Month Visitors Change YoY Month Visitors Change MoM
June 2020 174,000 July 2020 254,000 +46%
June 2021 425,000 +144% July 2021 408,000 -4%
June 2022 420,000 -1.1% July 2022 420,000 0%
June 2023 406,000 -3.3% July 2023 ? ?

Florida Mall Shopper Traffic

8001 South Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32809

Growing state, shrinking county, middle income.

  • While the population of the state of Florida (+183,221) is growing, Orlando County (-42,848) now has a declining population as of June 2023. This is true of most urban areas in Florida;
  • This is a large mall complex, located south of downtown, located along a busy commuter route;
  • This is a weekend destination (busiest days are Saturdays and Sundays). 31% of the people that visit here earn $75,000 or more in average median income annually, and about 31% hold a college degree;
  • Overall, visitor traffic to the Florida Mall in June 2022 was down 7.5% compared to the same month in the previous year; the top month for visits was December 2022 (820,000);
  • Given previous year’s trends, we expect to see a rise in total visitors in July of 2023 versus June of 2023, but a decline in total visitors versus the same month in 2022.
Month Visitors Change YoY Month Visitors Change MoM
June 2020 331,000 July 2020 376,000 +14%
June 2021 509,000 +54% July 2021 575,000 +13%
June 2022 599,000 +18% July 2022 687,000 +15%
June 2023 554,000 -7.5% July 2023 ? ?

Columbiana Center Shopper Traffic

100 Columbiana Circle, Columbia, SC 29212

Growing state, growing county, middle income.

  • Both the population of the state of South Carolina (+81,265) and the population of Lexington County (+4,621) are growing as of 2023, as are many nearby ZIP codes; 
  • This is a large mall complex, located a little northwest of downtown, drawing from many suburbs;
  • This is a weekend destination (busiest days are Saturdays and Sundays). 32% of the people that visit here earn $75,000 or more in average median income annually, and about 33% hold a college degree;
  • Overall, shopper traffic to the Columbiana Center in June 2022 was down 21% compared to the same month in the previous year; the top month for visits was December 2022 (344,000);
  • Visitor traffic to this mall has been in steady decline since the start of 2023, and as of the end of Q2 2023 is roughly even to total foot traffic in the month of February 2021;
  • Given previous year’s trends, we expect to see a modest rise in total visitors in July of 2023 versus June of 2023, but a significant decline in total visitors versus the same month in 2022.
Month Visitors Change YoY Month Visitors Change MoM
June 2020 118,000 July 2020 147,000 +25%
June 2021 195,000 +65% July 2021 213,000 +9%
June 2022 197,000 +1% July 2022 221,000 +12%
June 2023 155,000 -21% July 2023 ? ?


Summary

Shopper traffic for each mall we studied in this analysis has dropped since late 2022, with the losses ranging from minus-1% to about minus-21%.

While one may believe that growing population in an area is a telltale sign of growing retail shopper traffic, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, malls in growing states such as Florida and South Carolina, which are rapidly growing, are also losing mall shopper traffic since 2022.

This is an indication that urban and suburban migration is perhaps less an influence on mall foot traffic patterns than broader issues, including rising costs, economic uncertainty, and other factors.

To learn more about shopper traffic in malls and other retail locations, book a meeting with us today.

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