Mumbai: 53 per cent visitors to city malls don't shop, says survey

Updated: 26 November, 2019 08:48 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Majority of 650 respondents in IIT-B survey say they go to malls to chill, eat, or watch movies, and not necessarily to shop.

The Oberoi mall junction that sees very high flow of traffic every day. File pic
The Oberoi mall junction that sees very high flow of traffic every day. File pic

Air-conditioned malls in urban spaces have not remained just places to shop at anymore. As many as 53 per cent visitors prefer malls for dining, leisure and movies, a study has shown.

As many as 53 per cent visitors prefer malls for dining, leisure and movies, the study by Civil Engineering Department of Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay stated. The purpose of the exercise was to study transport patterns and behaviours of visitors to shopping malls in order to find solutions to traffic snarls in areas surrounding them. The survey highlighted the fact regarding leisure visits to malls for reasons apart from shopping.

While the research paper recommends direct access to public transport inside mall-premises for convenience of a major population of malls visitors. It has also suggested that major stations and terminals for railways and Metros should have such malls for shopping as well as recreational purposes so that it would be convenient for those using public transport. The research which surveyed 650 visitors in five shopping malls across Mumbai was published in the journal Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour.

Traffic outside Infiniti mall in Andheri
Traffic outside Infiniti mall in Andheri

The survey findings show while 47 per cent of those surveyed were at the malls for shopping, 53 per cent were there for other reasons like dining, leisure and movies. Almost 40 per cent of the ones who were there for shopping had got their cars while the ones who had visited for other reasons preferred to walk it up to the malls or use public transport. The use of public transport was highest among employees in the shopping malls.

The study also showed that half of the visitors preferred weekends to visit malls, especially during the evenings and afternoons. Although the use of cars and auto-rickshaws remained higher during weekends and weekdays, there was an increase in the use of public transport and two-wheelers during the weekends.

Addressing traffic woes
"The objective was that the findings of the study will help authorities meet traffic and transport-related needs around shopping malls. It will also help shopping mall owners in providing appropriate circulation and parking areas in a shopping mall," said Prof Gopal Patil from IIT Bombay who is the lead author of the study.

He continued, "A mall is more than just shopping. It is used for many other purposes such as meeting point, recreational zones with gaming and kids' activities, movies, restaurants among all. It is also found that in Mumbai where there is a scarcity of space, using malls for such other purposes is very likely for people coming from all socio-economic backgrounds.

While those from the privileged category prefer taking their own vehicles, the rest prefer public transport." Offering a few suggestions on how authorities can manage the transport around shopping malls, he said, "All major stations and terminals should have modern shopping malls with all necessary shopping and recreational facilities. Conversely, all major existing shopping malls should have direct access to public transport," he said. Improving the quality and comfort level of public transit can also go a long way.

What the survey probed
The survey used a questionnaire to gather information about the visitors' age, gender, occupation, income, car ownership and possession of a driving license. They also collected the preferred day, time and the primary purpose of the visit. Besides, the respondents were also asked about how they chose to reach the mall, the cost incurred, the total journey time, and how they planned to travel back. The study then used two statistical models to understand how each of these factors influences the visitors' decision to come to a shopping mall.

Other findings
Those above 55 years mostly used cars to travel to malls, and those below 18 years used auto-rickshaws and cars. Those between 18-30 years, who tend to be physically active, chose two-wheelers or public transport. The study also found the use of cars increased with an increase in income levels. However, the use of auto-rickshaws, which are popular in Mumbai, was comparable across income groups.

Percentage of those surveyed, were at the malls for shopping

Percentage of shoppers who had got their cars to the mall

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First Published: 26 November, 2019 07:16 IST

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