The retail landscape across Asia is moving towards e-commerce; at the same time, the trend on the ground seems to suggest that a decline in mall occupancy in most advanced nations is offset by a boom in shopping malls in developing economies.

Text by Jan Yong


“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” – Mark Twain’s famous quote probably sums up the shopping mall situation in Asia quite nicely – for now. This article may be a bit ahead of itself if it proclaims that e-commerce will replace shopping malls. E-commerce will never replace shopping malls even in the next 20 – 30 years but will coexist and complement them. The physical mall will never lose its appeal but will evolve to become a one-stop lifestyle or community destination with showrooms and F & B dominating the space.

E-commerce on the other hand will capture a larger share of retail sales – the figure in 5 years could be as high as 25% from the current individual country average of 1% – 10% worldwide (25% is where some analysts predict it will level out).In 10 years’ time, it may even reach 50% or more.

By then, most people will buy their goods online including medicine, groceries and even cars and properties (groceries are already being sold online now). It is even conceivable that by 2040 or earlier, you can buy cars and properties online without prior inspection and receive ownership on the same or next day as all transfers of ownership can be done online.

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