Marketing Highstreet (Shopping Centre) to Gens Y & Z
Here are a few tips about sources, subject headings, and strategies that you may want to start with. Note that these tips are just a start: think broadly about the sort of information you need and about who might have that information (government/association/academic/news/etc.).
- Start by visiting the Highstreet website, Facebook page, and Instagram page to learn about the mall: Who are its tenants? What mall-wide events are planned? How do they describe the mall and its shopping experience?
- Also visit the site of the mall's owner, Primaris REIT to see how they describe the mall.
- Seek out reviews of the mall to get a sense of how people feel about it. These could be in social media or at sites such as Trip Advisor and Yelp!, for instance.
- And check YouTube for video walkthroughs of the mall and its area to get a sense of the shopping experience it offers. For instance, here's a simple, unnarrated 2021 video and another more professional/sales-focused one from back in 2013 when the current mall was just being developed.
Articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers
A. Try searching in Business Source Complete using combinations of the subjects listed below.
- Generation Y
- Generation Y consumers
- Generation X
- Baby Boom generation
- Shopping centers
- Shopping malls
- Retail industry
- Retail stores
- Big box stores
- Lifestyle centers (shopping centers)
- Consumer behavior
- Consumers' preferences
- Marketing strategy
- Target marketing
- Brand image
B. PsycInfo, our main psychology database, covers most major marketing journals as well as many applied psyc journals that touch on the same topics. Start with this rough search for generational differences in shopping, then check out this search focused more on shopping mall/centre experiences.
C. For more of a Canadian perspective, try CBCA Complete and look for articles using the same terms (as keywords rather than subjects) that you used in Business Source Complete. Also try Canadian Newsstream for Canadian newspaper articles. (Remember that newspaper articles can be great ways to learn about key researchers and publications on a topic. Follow those leads!)
- See, for example, this article from Canadian Newsstream: The millennial mall: A new era for shoppers.
- And try this rough search of Canadian Newsstream for more articles that might mention studies or surveys.
- If you do see a study mentioned, be sure to look for the original to get deeper information about it. For instance, this March 2022 news article mentioned a study by Colliers Canada's Real Estate Management Services. A quick Internet search unearthed the original report from that study, as well as other reports from the same organisation that might contain useful info, including this recent one focused on Greater Vancouver.
- Sample of a news story on mall redesigns, with a "COVID-19" perspective: Malls need major rethink to survive pandemic, retail consultants say
- And another one that is solely about COVID-19 measures: What will Toronto’s malls look like when they reopen?
- And: Cadillac Fairview Innovates by Launching Mall-Based Delivery and Return Service.
D. More on news sources: searching through local news publications may reveal details specific to Highstreet mall and its local consumers that can't be found elsewhere, and searching through industry publications can give you the "big picture" of changes, trends, and issues in the industry overall. For example...
- Retail Insider, a Canadian industry publication, has lots of news on developments in retail in general and in other Canadian malls. Be sure to check both its site and its new magazine to find such articles as...
- The current work on Brentwood Mall in Burnaby is one of the most recent major shopping centre redevelopments in our Metro area. Search the Burnaby Now for articles about the development such as This is how Burnaby malls must pivot to survive. (Note that that article links out to a Deloitte report: The future of the mall: Building a new kind of destination for the post-pandemic world.)
A. Use the SFU Library catalogue to search for the many books and ebooks we have on topics such as Gen Y, Gen Z, marketing, retailing, and more.
Start with some of the same terms you used in your Business Source Complete searches. In general, remember that you should think more broadly to find useful books. For example, try this rough exploratory search.
A few examples of recent titles that seem potentially useful:
- Navigating the New Retail Landscape: A Guide for Business Leaders
- Retail Futures: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Digital Transformation
- Predicting Trends and Building Strategies for Consumer Engagement in Retail Environments
- Resurrecting Retail: The Future of Business in a Post-Pandemic World (published in 2021; see chapter 7: Reincarnation of the mall)
- Future-ready retail : how to reimagine the customer experience, rebuild retail spaces and reignite our shopping malls and streets (we have both print & online copies of this 2022 title)
A. Passport is more focused on country-level statistics and trends, so it is highly unlikely to have much on Abbotsford or BC, but it does have some articles on GenY/GenZ behaviours and on retailing trends that may be useful. For example, my first quick search of the database got me such reports and tables as:
- Where Consumers Shop for Apparel and Footwear
- Megatrends: Shopping Reinvented and Generation Z
- How Retailers and Brands Should Prepare for Generation Z
- The Reinvention of the Mall: How Shopping Centres are Adapting to Global Buying Habits
- Generation Y - the connected generation
- Future of the Family: Generation Z as Homemakers
- Make Way for Generation Z: Marketing to Today’s Tweens and Teens
- Generation Z: The Next Wave of Consumers
- Tomorrow’s Big Spenders: The Global Student Market
- The New Definition of Convenience Retail
- Retailing in Canada
- Internet Retailing in Canada
- Repositioning global malls to reflect consumer behaviour
- Millennials: Impact of their Behaviour on Global Consumer Markets
B. If you need some demographic statistics so that you can understand better the relative size of the different generations, start with sources such as...
- SimplyAnalytics - demographic and broad spending data mappable at the small neighbourhood level throughout Canada. Also includes mappable psychographic cluster information. Note that there are help videos available within this powerful database.
- Passport - has very detailed demographic data (with forecasts) at a national/global level.
- Statistics Canada's Census Profiles for the City of Abbotsford and for the Abbotsford-Mission Census Metropolitan Area
C. Our Vividata database has some interesting demographic data on the consumers of different products and services in Canada. Check out, in particular, their Apparel section for data on the consumers who visit "Shopping Malls, Centres or Districts", but also check out other categories to get an idea what products, services, and even leisure activities seem to be common hits among younger people.
D. A few random reports that came up in my initial searches and seem potentially useful:
- Toronto Metropolitan University's Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity (CSCA) has some interesting reports available for free at their site that may prove useful; for example: Shopping Centres in Canada in a Time of Uncertainty, Canadian REITs and Retail: Positioning For Future Growth? and Generational Analysis and Consumer Services. Note, though, that you will need to register (free) and provide information such as your address to download even the free CSCA Research Insights reports.
- Urban Land Institute: Generation Y: Shopping and Entertainment in the Digital Age (US focused)
- Be sure to look for contrarian perspectives. Lots of people talk about the growth of online shopping and equate that trend to a death of malls, but there are some reports that see a different future. See this 2017 report for example.
- From Deloitte: Connected mall of the future & 2022 Canadian Retail Outlook
- Income/expense analysis. Shopping centers -- an annual publication featuring detailed data on USA shopping centres by region.
- Boston Consulting Group: Retail Apocalypse: Four Ways Physical Stores Can Survive
E. There have been several BUS 360W topics that touched on similar topics in the past. The research guides prepared for those topics may have resources that you would find useful, although some of the links may now be outdated. Start with these guides:
F. Statista might have some useful charts and stats relevant to this topic. Start with a search for "shopping center" or even just a search for "malls". Be sure to check the Source tab next to the charts to see if there is a link back to the original source.
- Note: If you don't see "Simon Fraser University" at the top of the screen when you view a search result in Statista, try refreshing the window and/or come back to this page and click on the search links again.
G. The International Council of Shopping Centers restricts access to most of their research information for members, but a very small portion of it is free. Some of the free reports include...
- Shopping Centers: America's First and Foremost Marketplace.
- The Future of the Shopping Center Industry
- COVID-19 Re-Opening Best Practices
- Mixed-Use Properties: A Convenient Option for Shoppers
- The Successful Integration of Food & Beverage Within Retail Real Estate
H. Similarly, the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) tends to not provide free access to their reports, but a few are available, such as...
- Canadian Shopping Centre Study 2019
- State of the Canadian mall
- Landlords find unprecedented ways to innovate to keep Canada’s top malls thriving
- COVID-19 resources from RCC:
And here's another industry association: IFMA Retail Council (IFMA = International Facility Management Association -- these are the folks who run many retail buildings like malls).
- The Future of Shopping Centers (look for the Download link)
I. CBRE provides some interesting data and analysis on commercial real estate trends around the world, including an occasional focus on retail trends. See, for instance,
- Retail Innovation: Mall Evolution
- This Trend is Bringing Shoppers to Canadian Malls
- Retailtainment 2.0: Investing in Experience
- Vancouver Retail MarketView H1 2021
- the Retail chapter of their latest US Real Estate Market Outlook
- Vancouver Retail MarketView report
- Mixing it Up: Reimagining the Traditional Mall for New Uses
- If Clicks Were Bricks: Assessing the Threat to Malls from Online Shopping (note: link goes to archived version of the article since the original appears to have been removed from the CBRE site)
J. Our Frost & Sullivan database is mostly focused on markets for emerging technologies, but they have a small number of reports on trends in the retail environment. I spotted this report in F&S: Growth Opportunities in Retail 2.0:Key Retail Transformations Enabling Growth and Innovation to 2030. Maybe worth a quick read?
K. I just spotted the following post at the Leger Marketing site: Consumer Behaviour: Millennials and Gen Z Are Demanding and Efficient. As you may know, Leger is a major polling firm in Canada. Check their site for the results of other surveys and for expert commentary (e.g., Retail Post Pandemic, Featuring Dr. Jacques Nantel, then do the same at other major polling firms such as Ipsos and Angus Reid.
<No further suggestions yet - but keep checking. Also, don't forget that this is your wiki: you are welcome to add any tips here whenever you'd like. --- MB>