Is Mall Culture in Small Towns a ‘Hit’ in India?

Mall culture in small towns
  • The second great economic wave brought with it the massive growth of small towns. Suddenly the second and third tier cities were an open market for the big brands.
  • But this was back in 2005-08. What was the response and was primarily; the “mall culture” in India a hit?

The mall culture in India is rather a new concept, especially in small towns. As we were saying the wave of expansion, shift in economic equilibrium led to the big malls make their way to the small towns in India. Of the record, it should be noted that malls in metro cities, urban culture by then became a reliable choice of investment.

The new business ideas of shoppertainmentcentres were before we knew was changing the way people shop and sell in the second and third-tier markets.  My understanding of this part is heavily laden with my personal experience. Born and brought up in Udaipur- a small town in Rajasthan, a few days back I came across a piece of news stating, ‘globally recognized multi-million business group Miraj was about to inaugurate an organized big mall in Nathdwara’. The news of inauguration of Miraj Meridian (the First Mall in Nathdwara) got me thinking and to dig deeper.

The Past Phenomena

The same phenomenon was seen before this in Jaipur when Gaurav Tower was introduced. Today it is one of the most recognized landmarks in Jaipur. Once an unheard and totally alien business idea was later giving way to bigger investments such as Crystal Palm, World Trade Parkand others.

And not only Rajasthan, but the same pattern is also followed in other second and third-tier cities including Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Kolkata in West Bengal and the list goes on including Gurgaon, Vishakhapatnam, Bhubaneshwar even Lucknow and others.

Why it is So Far a Successful Wave?

Change in lifestyle is a great aspect of the Mall culture in India. The entire business landscape is transformed, small cities with big investments expand and reinvent them from their very core.

In fact, it is a tried and true approach and was a game changer in Mumbai and Bangalore. Shopping malls of varying shapes, budgets, sizes and concepts promise a vigorous change in the way India shops and the way traditional retail businesses were done.

Higher business values have been achieved. And everybody loves the convenience of it. Going according to by facts, you will be stunned to know that there were only three malls in India by the year 2001, by the year 2007 it blew up to 343 and by the end of the year 2018, it was on the verge to cross 700 functional malls all across India.

The Evolved Consumer Mindset

A regular mall draws about 40,000 to 85,000 footfall on weekends. And this is a massive number indicating a lot of people are inclined towards the concept. Regular and big investments, small towns seem to have become an assured investment mix.

The evolution of consumer mindset was triggered by the transitioning a regular and generic ‘shopping’ needs into a leisure and entertainment activity. In fact, the situation at present is the demand for organized retail has outgrown the investments making it one of the most lucrative investment opportunities. Thus, the demand of high-street retail, a commercial cum entertainment unit has made Indian consumer a promoter of the trend.

Events Make them Good Business Centre

The architecture, demography and the events play an important role in the promotion of the mall. Comfortable, entertaining shopping experience all for free is a good way of promotions but how effective?

The Otherside

How much revenue is however generated from the drawn crowd? You see not all the people coming to the mall are buying and contributing to the profits. Thus when a mall is inaugurated, there are a lot of window shoppers and the phenomena are raging and unstoppable.

In all this rush, it was recorded that major profits that were gained were from the entertainment unit in any mall. Entertainment thus was the key not only that drew a larger crowd but something that minted money for the investors. This ultimate recognition led to more investments in events, entertainment set-ups, and innovation. Also eateries, food kiosks, high-diners and Cineplex became an integral part of the shopping experiences at the malls. The retail mix is thus laden with entertainment and hospitality elements.

So Is It a Big Hit?

Shopping malls in the small towns are one of the best business ideas for tier 2, 3 and 4 cities. That is quite superficial with the kind of money being invested every year.  The growth is massive and the evolution and shift in consumer choices is a great encouragement for people looking forward to small towns for entrepreneurship. So, yes it is quite a hit in the non-urban cities. However, there is still a lot of efforts needed to be spent by investors to help people take a leap of faith and trust in high-street retails. So, entertainment is definitely a savior but is it a major goal.

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