When the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold, nonessential businesses were shut down across the country, and that extended to shopping malls. Months later, many malls have opened their doors and are eager to welcome a steady stream of shoppers.
But a July survey by retail predictive analytics company First Insight found that 32% of consumers feel unsafe, or very unsafe, going to shopping malls. That actually represents an increase from late April, when only 29% said the same.
On the one hand, you'd think customers would be especially eager to head to malls after months of being cooped up at home. On the other, the COVID-19 outbreak did worsen during the summer, which could explain why more people are hesitant to return to shopping malls now than earlier in the year.
Either way, none of this is good news for shopping malls, which were in danger even before the pandemic hit. And if consumers remain fearful of entering them, it could lead to their ultimate demise. That's very bad news for mall investors, and it's also a possible eventuality that's largely out of their control.