Christmas is usually the busiest time of the year for malls, and 2021 was no different despite the looming risks of the Omicron variant in the United States.
Outdoor malls topped 2019 levels again
In a report on Wednesday, Placer.ai said monthly visits to outdoor malls topped 2019 levels by 0.3% in December. Visits to indoor malls, however, were down 4.2% compared to before the pandemic, suggesting there’ still more recovery to come.
It was the third time that outdoor malls beat pre-pandemic numbers in 2021. More on the positive side was the confidence that momentum will sustain and malls will perform even better in 2022. The foot traffics analytics company wrote:
There are promising signs for the continued progress of the retail recovery and an even strong 2022. The conclusion from the data – expect bigger and better things for malls in 2022.
Things are looking good for malls in 2022
Placer.ai’s Mall Index sufficiently covers both outdoor and indoor malls in urban and suburban areas across the U.S. The index remained dull in November, even on Black Friday, but noted a “fast and significant” recovery in the final month of the year.
The report also said issues like staff shortages and supply constraints were likely to elevate this year, which will further boost foot traffic to indoor and outdoor U.S. malls in 2022. Simply put, Placer.ai noted that things were holistically looking good for malls this year.
For the full year, the mall index was up 51.5% YoY but down 10.2% versus 2019. Visits to indoor malls, as per the report, continued to improve from Q1 to Q3 but took a slight hit in Q4 due to the rise of the Omicron variant.
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