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Pop Quiz: Which Super-Regional Center Gets the Most Visits in the U.S.?

Caroline Wu
Jun 9, 2023
Pop Quiz:  Which Super-Regional Center Gets the Most Visits in the U.S.?

Summer’s here and with that we do a deep dive into one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in the US and compare foot traffic in world-famous U.S. retail corridors.

We love looking at the Shopping Center Benchmark Report tool to see which different types of centers get the most visits, most visitors, highest dwell times, or highest visitor frequency.  In the chart excerpt below, we've identified the super-regional malls with the most visits (along the x-axis). Data for visitors is shown on the Y-axis with the dotted line representing roughly 3M. The blue dot below is the center we’re trying to identify.

If you guessed Ala Moana Center in Hawaii, you win the grand prize. Indeed, the shopping center that receives the most visits in the U.S. is in the Aloha State at Ala Moana Center

This Hawaiian shopper’s paradise is in the top 1% of visits among all super-regional malls in the US.  Traffic has generally been positive most months YoY for the past 12 months, indicating a resurgence of shoppers.  And with summer having officially started, we imagine the numbers will continue to climb.

Interestingly, visitation to Honolulu Airport generally mimics traffic to the Ala Moana center.  We also took a look at the other Hawaiian Island airports.  Kauai’s Lihue airport had the biggest rebound in June 2022, with visitation up over 20% YoY.   For Maui’s Kahului airport, visitation in Sep 2022-Jan 2023 was up year-over-year, flat in Feb/Mar 2023, and currently a bit lower than last year’s during the shoulder season. The Big Island’s Kona Airport saw its biggest boost in Sept and Oct 2022.

Things are looking bright for Oahu’s malls, with the majority of them showing positive YoY traffic.  In particular, Pearl Highlands Center is going strong with its assortment of merchants such as a Regal movie theater, Ulta, Sam’s Club, and Ross Dress for Less.

High Street: Retail Shopping Corridors Poised to Win Back Shoppers

It's up to you New York, New York. And Michigan Ave and Beverly Hills. To lure back shoppers, that is.  Things are looking up for some of the most popular high streets in the nation.  Jan 2023 saw a huge boost in YoY traffic, likely due to the fact that so many stayed home during last year’s Jan Omicron surge.  For the remaining months, Times Square/42nd St has seen continual improvement each month compared to last year.  The 5th Ave Retail Corridor and the SoHo Retail Corridor are also up YoY.  Beverly Hills and Madison Ave have been relatively flat, and the Brickell District in Miami is down somewhat YoY.

There’s still a tough uphill climb to get back to pre-pandemic foot traffic levels, however.  The Brickell District has withstood the challenges the most, and SoHo has also not declined as much.  The Walnut St Retail Corridor has the highest percentage of foot traffic to regain.

The good news is that there are some smaller retail corridors that are showing proportionally large gains in May compared to last year, among them the Williamsburg area in Brooklyn, NY; East Market Retail Corridor in Philadelphia, PA; and Fulton Market Retail Corridor in Chicago, IL.

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Caroline Wu

Director of Research,

Caroline brings expertise in retail, CRE, entertainment, media, CPG, and tourism, and specializes in synthesizing broad datasets into actionable recommendations for growth. She has worked as the US Director of Consumer Insights at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, VP of Retail Insights and Intelligence at Omnicom, and Senior Director at Kantar. Caroline holds an MA in Sociology from Stanford University and a BA in International Relations from Stanford University.

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