While mall occupancy levels and foot traffic have decreased in some malls, other malls have experienced excellent growth over the six months to December. So what does this mean for brands?While mall occupancy levels and foot traffic have decreased in some malls, other malls have experienced excellent growth over the six months to December. So what does this mean for brands?
Brands need to be where the consumers are and what better place than the mall environment. John Faia: GM of Mall Ads™ unpacks the status quo.
South Africa has a strong mall culture. You only need to look around to notice exciting new mallscropping up all over. In recent months we have seen the extension of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, theopening of Menlyn Maine in Pretoria East and recent redevelopment of EastPoint shopping centre.While the trading densities of some malls are under increased pressure, particularly those faced withnew competition, many centres reported a spike in sales in November on the back of successful BlackFriday campaigns and inflation-beating dividend growth for their December reporting periods. Trends inthe mall environment are showing that consumers are chasing sales and specials, in my opinion morenow than ever before. What this reinforces is that consumers respond extremely well to advertising.And part of what makes them buy one product over another is the advertising that speaks to theminside the mall environment. It is here that they are in a purchasing frame of mind.
They’ve taken thetime and the effort to get to the mall, now they want to spend the money that’s in their wallet.Furthermore, everything about a mall is conducive to spending and feeling good while doing it. There isusually a taxi rank in the mall precinct or nearby, there is a safe place to park your car, inside it is secure,clean and the air-conditioning provides a welcome respite from the summer heat. Consumers arereceptive to brand messaging, because they want to take advantage of the sale or desire the novelty ofsomething new, hip and on-trend, be it a new flavoured water or sports shoe.
Malls are the perfect environment for brands to start or continue a conversation with the consumer. It ishere, close to point of purchase, where brands either lose, keep or win consumers. And in order to keepalready loyal consumers and win over new ones, your brand and your messaging needs to be in theirface. Out of Home is the last window of opportunity to engage consumers on the path to purchase,that’s the bottom line.
So while some malls are experiencing difficult trading conditions, people in South Africa are still visitingmalls, they’re still shopping and they’re still spending. Take, for example, convenience centres that caterto daily shopping needs. Many of these shoppers are dependent on social grants and are usually debt-free. They haven’t experienced the same pressure on disposable income as middle and higher-incomeconsumers, so their spending patterns stay the same. The record numbers over December at UmlaziMega City owned by SA Corporate Real Estate Fund (and managed by Broll) is testament to this.Furthermore, the recent non-GLA agreement between SA Corporate Real Estate Fund and Mall Ads™shows that landlords are focusing on alternative income opportunities.
So how does a brand stand out in a mall environment and grab a larger portion of shopper spend? Byadvertising. Simple. What becomes more complex is creating a campaign that is slick, fits seamlesslywith the mindset of the target consumer and is memorable. Mall advertising is not what it used to beand a larger portion of marketing budget needs to sit within mall advertising for a campaign to translateto sales. Consumers are more savvy, more critical and expect a lot more from brands. They also want novelty and innovation. They want to have fun and have an emotional connection with a brand. This iswhere Mall Ads™ is able to provide bespoke solutions.
The long term reality is that the consumer base is growing, in Africa and by default South Africa, and oneof the key driving factors is continued urbanization levels. According to the PwC Retail in Africa 2017report, the continent is the most rapidly urbanizing region in the world, with urbanization levels set toincrease to 56% in 2030 from 35% in 2010. If we look specifically at the South African context, the reportshows that Johannesburg is set to grow by 45% over the same period, to a total of 11,5m people.This can only be good for retailers and malls in general. More foot traffic, more spend and moreopportunity for brands to touch consumers.
Mall Ads™ presents brands with exciting opportunities to engage with shoppers when they are close topoint of purchase and in a purchasing frame of mind.