April 18, 2021

Shopping Malls in India – Long Distance Travel, Retail News, ET Retail

After a very difficult 2020, now that a successful vaccine to combat COVID-19 has been confirmed, we can begin to take stock of the damage caused by COVID-19 in shopping malls, hoping to steadily improve the situation.

It is still too early to spell out the date of the return to the “default” for shopping malls or what the new default will look like. However, a vast amount of information is increasingly available to help us understand where we are on the path to recovery. One conclusion that can draw such information sources with some confidence is that a considerable amount of land already lost by shopping malls in India during the lockdown has already been recovered.

Personal movement data collected through a smartphone app, often referred to as device data or mobile device data, is the source of such information. It provides a powerful and intelligent tool to measure changes in attendance patterns, both negative and positive, in real time. Capmaps device data provide a clear understanding of the impact of football – both before locking and at various stages of “unlocking”.

The key data presented below reflect the integrated innovations in India’s 24 leading malls, most of which are located in India’s Tier-1 cities. Chart 1 shows the 12-month mall traffic trends in each city, which was launched in mid-November 2019.


As a result of the nationwide lockdown, the drop in mall traffic in the first week of March 23 saw a sharp and dramatic drop in the number of malls arriving in or near zero. It began to climb slowly until mid-June. With the onset of the festive season, in some cases the pre-COVID levels rose again to 60% -70%, which was even higher in Lucknow. However, in most cities, by mid-November, pre-COVID levels were 30% -60%.

Chart 2 below shows that as customers return slowly, their attendance habits return to pre-COVID levels during the arrival period – now in most cases between 80-90 minutes and 50-60 minutes on average between March and June.

Shopping malls in India - long distance
One of the global trends reported during the COVID-19 lockout period is the so-called “local return,” with most shoppers focusing their shopping on centers located closer to their homes. For regional malls, which typically thrive when attracting customers from a wider region, this behavioral change, if permanent, pronounces potential problems.

Chart 3 below shows that the epidemic has changed the distance shoppers are prepared to travel. In most cases, when only 15% -30% of regional mall customers traveled two kilometers or less, in April, that rate increased to 50% -60%. However, by October, the rate had returned to close to pre-COVID levels, meaning shoppers were confident of traveling longer distances to visit their favorite malls.

Shopping malls in India - long distance
CapMap’s mobile device data is a sophisticated offering in the region, providing an unprecedented opportunity to track recovery times and understand the nature of changes. It allows the industry to analyze at a granular level and monitor whether visitation patterns are reversing the old norm or settling with the new normal.

Importantly, mobile device data can be used to measure any or all of the above malls, and then compare or contrast the performance of that mall with appropriate definitions for its peer hubs.

For more details, contact Bahim Saleem, Director, South Asia and Myanmar at Caphmaps Pt Ltd, [email protected]