Chinese shopping malls reinvent themselves to attract customers-Xinhua

Chinese shopping malls reinvent themselves to attract customers

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-01-19 15:40:18

Photo taken on Nov. 23, 2023 shows the free indoor playground at the newly-opened Aeon mall in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. (Xinhua/Liu Yujia)

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- With a 2,700-square-meter rooftop park and a 300-square-meter indoor kids' playground, customers at the newly-opened Aeon mall in central China's Wuhan city enjoyed experiences that went well beyond conventional shopping.

China's brick-and-mortar stores, including shopping centers, supermarkets and convenience stores, are seeking innovative changes in the digital age to attract customers, injecting fresh vitality into offline consumption.

"It is cold in winter and hot in summer in Wuhan. Besides, the weather here is quite rainy," said Takuya Nojima, general manager of the new Aeon mall in Wuhan. "More indoor recreation space will have customers stay longer in the mall, which will help increase the sales revenue."

According to the general manager, a total of 21 percent of the space in the mall is dedicated to recreation centers, leisure activities and dining services.

While online shopping is convenient and meets consumer needs for "products," physical stores can provide comprehensive retail experiences and cater to the needs for "services," said Dong Chao, an expert with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce. "The value of offline retail outlets lies in the pleasure created by face-to-face interaction."

According to a report released by the China Chain Store and Franchise Association, a total of 400 new shopping centers opened in China last year, and more than 60 percent of the surveyed cities saw growth in the number of convenience stores.

Physical stores across the country are introducing novel consumption scenarios, which include ski areas, amusement parks, bookstores and even art museums.

In catering to the specific needs of different consumer groups, a "community canteen" that opened last year in Beijing's Chang'an Market has become popular among the elderly, while a nearby bookstore has offered caretaking and after-school activities for students.

Xidan Department Store, a time-honored landmark in Beijing's Xidan business area, is shifting from the traditional business model to one that highlights quality life experience, sports and health, smart life, and culture.

In 2023, consumption became the main driving force for China's economic growth again, according to Kang Yi, head of the National Bureau of Statistics. The annual contribution of final consumption expenditure to China's economic growth was 82.5 percent last year, up by 43.1 percentage points year on year.

China's consumption potential is still huge, said Kang, adding that the country's super-large market with a population of over 1.4 billion, the steady advancement of urbanization and the upgrading of consumption structure offer extensive opportunities for consumption growth. 


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