5 Habits of Malaysian Mall-Goers Post-COVID-19

It has been a challenging year for all industries, more so for those in the retail sector. The Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) told the Sun Daily that retail sales fell 30.9% in Q2 of 2020 marking its worst period in 33 years.

As Malaysia enters its third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and key states in the country goes on lockdown, retail stores will once again bear the brunt of this

All is not lost, despite the country’ economic slowdown the World Bank, in its latest edition of the Malaysia Economic Monitor, states that it expects growth to resume at 6.9 percent as the outbreak eases.

Understanding the Post-Pandemic Shopping Experience

A weekend staple for many families, shopping malls have become lifestyle centres to many Malaysians, where a trip could include going to the movies, dining out, viewing an exhibit, and maybe even actual shopping.

While this would have been the typical mall trip pre-COVID-19, you may ask, how are shoppers spending their time at the mall as we go through this pandemic?

ADA together with market research company Pinnacle Analytics, conducted a study to better understand ‘The Current Shopping Behaviour Among Klang Valley Shoppers’.

The survey, which was conducted after the first CMCO (17-23 July) looked at Klang Valley shoppers who were between 18 to 55 years of age and had visited a shopping mall at least once in every 2-3 months in the year 2019.

The team at Pinnacle Analytics combined conventional research together with big data analytics to ensure the accuracy of data captured for better prediction.

This was complemented by a detailed analysis of each retail outlet through ADA’s Retail Business Insights Dashboard (BID), which provided the report with rich insights on the various retail outlets in the Klang Valley. Through Retail BID’s interactive heatmap, we could identify the popular spots at an outlet and how many people it attracted.

The big question we wanted the answer for is if shopping malls were attracting the same pool of shoppers currently as compared to pre-MCO?

Below are 5 key shopper insights that we uncovered:

Insight 1: From Borderless to Bounded Shoppers

It comes as no surprise, as seen from the heatmap by Retail BID, Malaysia shoppers are no longer as open to travel to different cities as they were before the movement control order. Although shoppers who were under the controlled movement control order (CMCO) were allowed to travel at this period, many opted for lesser movement and visited malls closer to home.

“That being said our insights also showed that neighbourhood malls did not see an increase in footfall versus bigger city malls. We viewed a popular mall in Cheras and similar to the city mall we noticed lesser crowed to the outlet.”- Vittorio Furlan, Head of Business Insights, ADA

Insight 2: New Shopping Segments: Mall Returners vs. Mall Avoiders

The survey showed however that 72% of the respondents had returned to malls while 28% were our mall avoiders who had not visited any malls.

A key point to note among our mall returners was that the number of indifferent mall goers had decreased, seeing a 30% jump of people returning to neighbourhood and regional malls.

The 28% who refused to go back to the mall were reluctant to go back mainly due to safety concerns and to avoid crowds.

Insight 3: People were Spending Lesser Time in Malls

Shoppers that had frequently visited shopping malls pre-MCO did not show the same sentiments as the survey showed a decline in daily shoppers. With the constant health reminders and feeling of uncertainty looming, monthly shoppers saw a 12% increase as more city shoppers were becoming better in planning their shopping trips.

“It was during this time many people were still uncertain if there would be another lockdown, such as the one we are going through now. Many people had opted to stock up on their supplies, avoiding frequent trips outside.” – Vittorio Furlan, Head of Business Insights, ADA

Insight 4:   Shopping- The Shift from Indulgence to Function

The survey showed how the average time spend at a mall had decreased by almost 50%. While previously people went to indulge or window shop, they were now becoming more focused on their purchases, going in mainly to buy essential goods.

A breakdown on what shoppers were spending on saw a general cut back on many items, with fashion and entertainment taking the biggest hit. Overall consumers were scaling back on their spending with a 34% decline in spending.

Insight 5: The Rise of Solo Shoppers

It was announced by the government at the start of the MCO that one person should be elected per family to purchase essential items needed.

This seems to have continued as the study showed an increase of single shoppers which also connects to our earlier insight on shoppers being more purpose driven on their shopping trips.

“Retailers cannot rest on their laurels, they must take action to look into the best ways of maximising the current footfall they have. Using the Retail BID they will be able to better understand how today’s shoppers are interacting with their space and find new ways to attract these shoppers” – Vittorio Furlan, Head of Business Insights, ADA

About ADA’s Retail Business Insights Dashboard (BID)

Find out who your customers and potential customers are, uncover the personas visiting your and your competitors’ stores as well as which outlets they visit and when. Take advantage of precise targeting and actionable insights geared to give you an edge in the automotive, mall, and petrol industry.