Do luxury shopping malls influence consumer styles and taste and shopping behavior?
The answer appears to be a strong “yes.” Increased visibility and consumption of upscale brands have made consumers aware of the variety of choices available. Also, more Filipinos now travel and have contact with physical environments and ambiance that were only seen in shopping experiences abroad. Thus, they are more open to shopping stimuli that enable the assimilation of international and more sophisticated lifestyle choices and preferences.
Influencing lifestyle and taste
Income is a direct determinant of purchasing power, but not necessarily of consumer taste and decision styles. Where before the customer preference profile determined the mall environment, architectural design and shopping mix, the reverse effect is being observed. Malls are now influencing consumer lifestyle and taste. Malls act as the visible symbol and barometer of shopping styles and appear to have a reciprocal effect on consumer behavior.
A study by Hauge (2007) has noted that holistic and reciprocal interactions between shoppers and shopping malls often occur during shopping, and concluded that “People affect places, and places influence how people see themselves.”
Playing a major role
Malls play a major role in consumers’ lifestyle and serve their needs for socialization and recreational activities, entertainment and even societal status. That role is expected to further grow in the future as individuals increasingly integrate their personal lives with the consumption of products, brands and experiences.
If so, then the Philippines will see an upsurge not only in upscale, sophisticated mall concepts, but also the more pervasive transformation of the consumer psyche. To a great extent, Filipinos are global citizens even they have never stepped foot out of the country. Many have one or even a few first-degree relatives and friends who work or live in the US, Australia, Europe and other parts of the world. Their gifts, pasalubongs, and stories have exposed us to this global sense and taste.
With this unmistakable trend, the local retail brands will have to step up to the challenge and re-create their brand experiences. They must strive to cater to the global and “cosmopolitan” Filipino consumer, alongside the rise of lifestyle malls.
Dr. Gañac is assistant professorial lecturer in the Ramon Del Rosario College of Business of the De La Salle University. He joined the academe in 2012 after a broad career in corporate communications, corporate marketing, corporate social responsibility and investor relations spanning more than 30 years. He teaches Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, Public Relations among other subjects under the undergraduate and masters Marketing Management program of DLSU.
The views expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.