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An Emergence of Shopping Experience- Malling culture

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An Emergence of Shopping experience - Malling culture

By Meenakshi kharb

What comes to your mind when you hear the word `Mall`? Shopping, food, movies, entertainment or maybe time pass? Well, the word may bear different meanings to different people but it definitely stands for more than any of these things. Today, shopping malls have become a part and parcel of daily life of people living in Metros and big cities.

Introduction
Mall culture in India and especially in Delhi & NCR has grown with an incredible pace. Just a few years back, people had to make a choice among shopping, movies or hanging out on a holiday but thanks to our malls, all these jobs can be performed at the same time, under the same roof and that too with a wonderful experience. And it is basically the experience and not the intention that counts when it comes to malls.

The reason why shopping malls are so popular lies in their international appeal. It seems to be a thing of history when shopping malls had their presence only in places like Singapore and Dubai. In fact, now they are everywhere around us.

If we dive back in time to the early Nineties, Ansal Plaza appeared to be the only popular shopping mall of the region but presently there are more than two dozens of well-established malls in the region and another 140-odd new shopping arcades are set to dot the city landscape in days to come.

People find these malls to be the best place to shop or hang out in summer heat as they offer free entry to a completely air conditioned complex with good music playing all around and loads of window shopping opportunity which is appreciated by one and all. Not to forget the numerous food joints that serve different cuisines meant to magnetize the taste buds of all the foodies.

Though malls are equally popular among all ages, the true lovers of multiplexes are the youngsters for whom malls are the `ultimate place to be`. These malls serve their various purposes like shopping, watching movies, dating or just to hang out though they really don’t need a purpose for being there. “Malls are the coolest and safest place to go bunking”, says Raghav, a college student while the other boys and girls belonging to the same age group have no different opinions. These malls have also come up with different ways to cater to their target visitors like some of them have discos where the Gen-X get a chance to chill-out during nights. Mohit says, “Opening of discos has added a new adventure and fun to my life. I can now go and party in the night too.”

These malls have changed the trends to an extent that the glamour that could be seen only on the silver screen has now come to our cities and we can actually see it in our neighborhood. Almost all the malls present in the region can match any high-quality mall in any part of the world.

Prospects of shopping malls in India

Global estimates say India will be home to 26.2 million square feet of shopping malls in 2006 and the good news for the people belonging to NCR is that 40% of these will be concentrated in this region alone.

Introduction of malls has not been able to replace traditional markets, which are still popular among the pocket conscious people, but has definitely added a new adventure to the shopping experience. The retail business in India is set to witness heady growth in the years ahead with the number of shopping malls in Asia's third largest economy rising to a staggering 358 by the end of 2007, says a study.
The country has some 100 malls now, with the National Capital Region (NCR) and Mumbai accounting for maximum numbers of the gleaming shopping centres, says a study by the Images fashion magazine. The retail sector will see over 34 million sq ft of shopping centre space by the year end, said the report on shopping centre development in India.

"Performance beyond expectation is all the more significant in the backdrop of adverse reports and predictions on this sector," said Amitabh Taneja, director (India) of International Council of Shopping Centres."Based on a complete list of shopping centre developments taking place across the country, the projection for listed developments by 2007 is 358, with a total built up area of 87.8 million sq ft," he added.

According to Images, there are a total of 96 operational malls in India with a total built-up area of 21.6 million sq ft. The number will rise to 158 malls by the end of the current year. Organized retailing is projected to grow at the rate of 25-30 per cent per annum to touch $8 billion by 2005 and $24 billion by 2010, said the Images study.

Investments in the retail sector are estimated at between $400 million and $500 million over the next two to three years, and over $4 billion by the end of 2010, it added. The retail industry in India is currently estimated at $205 billion, which is likely to grow at a rate of five percent per annum in the coming years

Changing Attitudes of the Masses
Droves of middle-class Indians have broken off their love of traditional stand-alone Indian stores that have no air conditioning; organized parking and other public amenities. Experts say malls throughout the country are getting bigger as they are now being positioned as a one-stop-shop for shopping, entertainment, leisure and eating-out needs rather than a place only for shopping for fashion products.
By 2007, north zone will account for 39 per cent of total mall space, followed by west zone (33 per cent), south zone (18 per cent) and east zone (10 per cent), and said the Images study. The study said a lot more activity on the mall development front was expected from the smaller cities in the years ahead. These cities will have about 12.8 million sq ft of mall space by 2007, with Ludhiana accounting for about 2.5 million sq ft and Ahmedabad about 3.4 million sq ft.

The study said the fast growing middleclass population, the rise in women workforce and consumerism over the decade was the major forces in driving demand in the retail sector. "To the present generation, shopping means much more than a mere necessity and malls are now fast becoming image benchmarks for communities”.

Emergence of a different Culture

Shopping orientations are related to general predisposition toward acts of shopping. They are conceptualized as a specific dimension of lifestyle and operationalized on the basis of activities, interests and opinion statements pertaining to acts of shopping. Efforts have been made to classify consumers into distinct segments primarily for targeting purposes.

In a seminal study, Stone identified four kinds of shopping orientations:
• Economic,
• Personalizing,
• Ethical,
• Apathetic.

Others developed a three-group taxonomy of shopping orientations -- inactive shopper, active out-shopper, and thrifty innovator. Lumpkin in studying elderly consumers, identified three additional distinct segments -- uninvolved shopper, inflation-conscious shopper, and actively, highly involved shopper.

Korgaonkar examined six groups of shoppers:
• recreational shopper price-oriented shopper
• brand-loyal shopper, psych-socializing shopper
• store-loyal shopper time-oriented shopper.

Shopper typologies have also been developed for specific product categories. For instance, Furse, Punj, and Stewart profiled automobile shoppers into four categories. Constructive shoppers work hard at gathering information from Consumer Reports and showrooms. Surrogate shoppers depend heavily on others for information search and evaluation. Preparatory shoppers spend more time talking to friends, rather than spending time with in-store sources. Routinized shoppers spend relatively less time on information search but exhibit considerable loyalty to the same brand and dealer because of past satisfaction.
Findings are mixed with regard to the major characteristics of non-store or home shoppers. Convenience and recreational orientations were found to be related to catalog shopping. A broad examination of non-store shoppers found them to be younger, venturesome, and recreational. Another study suggested those home shoppers as thrifty innovators, having lower income and focusing on time management.

Online stores attract shoppers with certain orientations. In a recent research report, Greenfield Online found that online shopping is preferred over in-store shopping by some Internet users because of its convenience and time savings. However, the study also found that an overwhelming 69 percent of Internet users said shopping at stores and malls allows them to see, feel, touch, and try on the products before they buy them. These findings suggest that the consumers who value convenience are more likely to buy on the Web, while those who prefer experiencing products are less likely to buy online.

These findings are consistent with the current situation of most online stores. At present, the Web has demonstrated its large capacity for disseminating information of various kinds. Many online storefronts are full of information that is searchable. That is, consumers can examine search attributes of products such as sizes, models, and prices . With the help of shopping robots, consumers can search information about products from different online stores with one search request . Consumers can also "experience" certain digital products online. For instance, they can play a segment of a music CD or download a trial version of a software program to their immediate satisfaction. Consumers also can experience non-digital products such as wines or cosmetics indirectly through reading testimonials online. However, today's online stores have a limited capacity for consumers to experience tangible products.

Conclusion

Introduction of malls has not been able to replace traditional markets, which are still popular among the pocket conscious people, but has definitely added a new adventure to the shopping experience. The retail sector will see over 34 million sq ft of shopping centre space by the year end, said the report on shopping centre development in India. "To the present generation, shopping means much more than a mere necessity and malls are now fast becoming image benchmarks for communities.” Shopping orientations are related to general predisposition toward acts of shopping. They are conceptualized as a specific dimension of lifestyle and operationalized on the basis of activities, interests and opinion statements pertaining to acts of shopping.

References:
www.shoppingmall.com
www.ansal.com
www.mall.com
www.indianmalls.com

Written By: Meenakshi kharb, Lecturer

Department of Management Studies
B.S. Anangpuria Institute of Technology & Management, Faridabad

meenakshi_mbahim21@rediffmail.com

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