Note: Will edit this post once I get more time. These are just preliminary thoughts, a.k.a. “Thinking Out Loud”. (Pasintabi kay Ed Sheeran).
Since the beginning of this year, I have become fond of watching YouTube videos on the exploration of dead and dying malls across the United States. Some channels focusing on this content include Dan Bell, Sal (Expedition Logs), Ace’s Adventures, and Retail Archaeology.
The reasons why malls have died in the United States vary. The most popularly-cited reason is the rise of Amazon.com and ebay. Sal offers an alternative reason: malls declined because there were too much of them, rapid openings and expansion came with huge loans that could not be paid once rental payments stopped coming. For him, the Internet simply took advantage of this dilemma.
This got me thinking whether malls will also die in the Philippines, with Shopee and Lazada on the rise. I talked about this with a friend, and he said malls here would not die. Malls here are not just for retail. They have replaced parks as the place for gathering people, according to him.
I also observed that malls here are connected to transportation hubs. Note that except for GMA-Kamuning, Santolan, and Buendia stations, all MRT-3 stations along EDSA are connected or near malls. As long as modes of transport keep coming and going, foot traffic is guaranteed. Where there is foot traffic, there are surely sales. When there are sales, there are rentals paid.
Lastly, most malls in this country are controlled by a few entites: SM predominates, but there are also others like Ayala, Robinsons, and Ever Gotesco. DoubleDragon is also on the rise, thanks to its strategy not to go where SMs are. Probably only the small malls will die.
Whether other malls will die too, only time can tell.