--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The shopping mall industry has been transformed in recent years along with its consumers, who every day are increasingly more demanding and have stopped conforming with traditional commercial spaces. On this topic there is a great deal of information and a generalized perception that e-commerce will end the traditional shopping mall model, a position that we consider to be wrong. Although the sector is experiencing a challenging moment, in countries like Colombia there is plenty of room to grow.
In 2017, according to the Colombian Shopping Malls Association (Acecolombia), 13 new shopping malls were opened in the country that contributed an additional 305,013 m2 compared to the closing figures of 2016. During 2018, it is projected to open 22 more locations in different cities, mostly intermediate (54%). With these figures, which already exceed a total of 230 properties, Colombia ranks as the third most important shopping mall market in Latin America after Mexico and Brazil.
One characteristic that makes shopping malls represent a sector of the economy with important growth opportunities in Colombia, is the country´s penetration rate that is 0.16 compared to countries like Mexico in which is 2.22. Another key feature is the fact that the middle class and its purchasing power have strengthened considerably, growing from 15% to 28% in the last decade, according to the World Bank. This situation makes it necessary to have a response from the real estate sector in order to meet this growing demand.
As part of the sector´s transformation, the owners of shopping malls had to evolve and find models which allow them to generate balance in terms of mobility, environmental impact and a commercial mix, among others. For this reason, the Multi-Owner model has been transformed into a One Owner model. “In Pei Asset Management, we are committed to the One Owner model because it facilitates property administration, strategic decision making in relation to the commercial mix and the alignment of interests of both the administrator, tenants and users, in addition to promoting scale structures and cost reduction,” said Jairo Corrales, President of Pei Asset Management.
The challenge of current shopping malls is to generate unique experiences for their users, which integrate entertainment and forefront in spaces that can relate to nature and technology at the same time. Shopping malls are being forced to provide traders a greater exposure of their products, seeking to generate more interaction with them, to have a robust and diverse inventory and find technological strategies to attract consumers.
The shopping mall industry in Colombia has sought to innovate and be at the forefront of shopping malls globally. An example is the 'Pet Friendly' trend, which allows people to come in company of their pets and provides comfort to get a continuous improvement of their experience. An example is the Atlantis Plaza shopping mall, which opened its doors to domestic animals since 2016, by providing recreation, hydration and bathing spaces with the objective of allowing users to enjoy family time with their pets.
Cross-selling and services have become a differential that shopping malls have to adapt to attract and retain their consumers. This is the case of Plaza Central shopping mall where users find everything from fashion and convenience services to the largest gastronomic variety in the country.
Another global trend that the country has begun to adopt are specialized shopping malls, which have emerged from the analysis and categorization of consumption habits by identifying specific niche markets. An example of these are the IDEO Design and Construction Centers, in the cities of Medellín and Cali, where users have the possibility of finding more than 150 locations specializing in construction and design. In this category of specialized shopping malls we also have outlets, commercial spaces where consumers have the possibility to find discounts and promotions of previous inventory products, and a wide variety of entertainment options.
In this new era, the owners and administrators of shopping malls have the challenge of finding models that adapt to the new user needs and to know how to take advantage of market opportunities generating value to their different audiences, thus achieving that this sector continues to grow and become stronger in the country.