You just ordered your favourite tortillas and enchiladas, but wouldn’t mind downing your Mexican desires with a tall glass of iced Punjabi lassi. Punjab and Mexico? Unlikely combination, but when you have a choice, why not be spoilt? It’s easy, go get it, no cash, debit card swiped, food on the table before you can spell, well Czechoslovakia. Oh, and the surround-sound, compact, high-definition movie auditorium number 7 is just a few yards away. So, please, no need to spill that gorgeous drink. And yes, don’t forget that oversized shopping bag as you rush out of the food court.
Sounds somewhat familiar, does it? If it does, you are by now a confirmed mall junkie, even though you haven’t had a chance to sample all that junk food on offer.
Welcome to India’s malls. At these, shopping’s not the only exciting thing to do. Foodies just dig the food courts and cola fountains. Kids love their play pens. Adults like to stare. And storeowners are extra polite. The die-hard film addicts will just hop over from one gorgeous, red-seated auditorium to another. And, hey, hanging out is so much more fun, with friends, with family, even alone with the Mc D swirl for company. There’s never too much heat, or cold. And the music they play is quite energizing.
By the end of this year, India would have 300 malls, all rolling out multiple product lines, and non-stop 12 hour shopping experiences. That’s about 300 times more malls than what India had a decade ago, right? So what are we really looking at in this booming Mall-for-All culture?
We are gazing at New India shopping, or just window shopping if you like. We are looking at rising footfalls, anywhere upwards of 7,000 on weekdays and 12,000 on weekends. After a slump in footfalls, there is once again a rise. You can now say that malls have more to offer. It is not just about ogling at that luxury brand and not being able to buy it. There is affordable wear, food, cinema, upholstery, linen, electronics, home furnishings, crockery and so much more everywhere. While disposable incomes are rising, mall store prices are declining as owners and entrepreneurs re-evaluate their pricing. Except the very select ones, of course, for whom pricing high is key.
Zipping from Select City Walk in south Delhi’s Saket to Gurgaon’s Ambience to catch the next movie, and another round of quesadilla is so much fun. Or for that matter, a bit more of that rava masala if you were hopping between Bay Pride or Lulu Mall in Kochi.
The mall journey has just begun. But, hey, which floor did I park my car on?
—The author has been brand specialist at a leading mall in Delhi.
She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org