The First Round of the ‘Big City Centre Vote’ Results Have Been Revealed
- To-date, the regional-based campaign has received feedback from,10,000customersat City CentreMirdif and Deira,as well as online
- Survey being conducted to enable the City Centre brand to develop malls customised to visitors’ wants and needs
- Mall-goers are expressing the desire for a community space that offers new concepts and experiences, more diverse dining, and incorporates health and wellness
- Eventually, all cumulated results will be used to transform the malls into spaces designed for their communities
DUBAI, 27 May 2022 –Customers would most like to see future City Centre malls as spaces that offer food, health and wellness, hybrid, and convenient services, as well as new experiences — as revealed in the first round of anew survey by Majid Al Futtaim’s City Centre brand.
Launched in March and still ongoing, the ‘Big City Centre Vote’ has since been conducted atCity Centre Deira,City Centre Mirdif, and online. The campaign seeks to help Majid Al Futtaim better understand what customers would like to experience in their respective community malls moving forward, as well asguide the development of more connected and personalised community spaces. So far,10,000 respondents have given their feedbackabout their preferences and desires in dining, entertainment, shopping, occasions, and future trends categories, and matters important to them.
Most notably, the survey has found that dining and food continue to remain an important experience and attraction for mall visitors; that digital and experiential features and services are increasingly sought after; and that more family orientated areas, as well as sustainable shopping options are desired.
Fuad Sharaf, Managing Director, UAE Shopping Malls, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, commented on what initiatedthe campaign: “As a company pioneering experiences through our shopping malls, we are constantly being pushed to innovate our offering and revitalise our assets. Historical shifts in consumer behaviour coupled with the impact of the pandemic has us asking: what will drive people back into malls, what types of retail trends will develop, and crucially, what do communities want from their malls?
We know consumers are looking for new points of engagement and authentic direct-to-consumer brands, but we wanted to dig deeper and really understand what our communities are looking for at their local community mall. So, in a momentous shift, we are putting the future direction of our City Centre malls brand directly into the hands of our customers. Through this ongoing ‘Big City Centre Vote’, we aregiving our communities a seat at the board-room table and enabling them to give us the insights and feedback we need to create ideal future mall spaces. We are continuing to hostseveral community groups to truly enable customers to express their needs and look forward to reporting back as we take these results and implement them to create customised City Centres.”
Food as important as ever
Food is an important point of engagement and acts as the cornerstone of a mall’s community. The ’Big City Centre Vote’ therefore aims to allow City Centres tounderstand what visitors want from their mall dining options — from cuisines all the way through to experiences.
The results so far reflecttheuptake of health-conscious eatingtrendsover the past couple years, with approximately one third of respondents saying they would like to see a greater variety of healthy food and beverage outlets available to them.
Food-related activities are alsoaheadas the most popular entertainment options. Here, people at City Centre Mirdif votedthat a cooking classwould be their preferred idea of fun and new skill.
Lastly,when participants from City Centre Deira, Mirdif and Al Zahia online wereasked about their preferred dining experiences, 35 per cent showed a greater affinity toward casual dining, and 24per cent toward outdoor options ahead of fine dining (19 per cent).
The ‘Big City Centre Vote’also confirms trends that have been evolving rapidly in the past two years; that mall visitors are increasingly looking for speed, convenience, touchless technology and safety, personalisation, as well as a blend of physical and digital experiences that allow them to have a more streamlined and seamless mall journey.
Echoing the same, the findingsare showingthat when asked about their future shopping preferences, a majority of those shopping at City Centre Mirdif, and online said they would most like a hybrid experience which would allow them to choose products online and then try them on in-store.Instead, those from City Centre Deira are opting for more Scan & Go and self-check-out facilities.
Likewise, convenience and speed continue as a prominent theme throughout. When asked to rank what is important when ordering online, majority are ranking ‘instant delivery’ as the most important.
Alongside technologies that enable seamless experiences, tech-driven experiential concepts are also coming up as front of mind for respondents — who are voting to see morevirtual and augmented reality (AR)experiences made available. For example, 30 per cent (of respondents from City Centre Deira, Mirdif and Al Zahia online) have said they would find ‘escaping to a virtual world’ most fun. Elsewhere, parents at City Centre Deira and Mirdif saythey believe their kids would most likely enjoy mall treasure hunts in AR.
What matters most
While the aim of the’Big City Centre Vote’is to understand future preferences, it also looks to recognise topics which most matter to people — to ensure forthcoming mall spaces reflect these. In this category, over a quarter of people so far have cited sustainability and the environmentas a priority. Respondents across the board are sayingthey would most like to see more recycling options available as well as upcycling stores, while the majority put a ticknext to seeing more sustainable fashion options.
Moreover, supporting local women’s brands isalso being selected as the most important way City Centre malls can empower women creators.
Focus on family
Another theme that is developing across several categories of the ‘Big City Centre Vote’ shows that respondents are looking for more diverse family-orientated experiences and children-dedicated spaces in their mall.
To this end, 31per cent (of respondents from City Centre Deira, Mirdif and Al Zahia online)are expressing the desire for more child-friendly restaurants with more dedicated kids’ menus and play areas.
Additionally, when asked whattheir kids would like more of, majority parents across all malls are choosing‘more active play areas’ in the mall followedsecondly by‘more kids’ workshops’.When prompted on most favouritekids’ activities, majority of parents are rankingarts and crafts workshops as the number one activity they’d like over school holidays.
For more information on how to vote, visit your nearest City Centre in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, and Lebanon or vote at citycentrebigvote.com.
About Majid Al Futtaim
Founded in 1992, Majid Al Futtaim is the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
A remarkable business success story, Majid Al Futtaim started from one man’s vision to transform the face of shopping, entertainment and leisure to ‘create great moments for everyone, every day’. It has since grown into one of the United Arab Emirates’ most respected and successful businesses spanning 17 international markets, employing more than 43,000people, and obtaining the highest credit rating (BBB) among privately held corporates in the region.
Majid Al Futtaim owns and operates 29 shopping malls, 13 hotels and four mixed-use communities, with further developments underway in the region. The shopping malls portfolio includes Mall of the Emirates, Mall of Egypt, Mall of Oman, City Centre malls, My City Centre neighbourhood centres, and five community malls which are in joint venture with the Government of Sharjah. The Company is the exclusive franchisee for Carrefour in over 30 markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, operating a portfolio of more than 400outlets including City+, the region’s first checkout-free store, and an online store.
Majid Al Futtaim operates more than 600 VOX Cinemas screens as well as a portfolio of world-class leisure and entertainment experiences across the region including Ski Dubai, Ski Egypt, Dreamscape, Magic Planet, Little Explorers and iFLY Dubai. The Company is parent to a Fashion, Home and Specialty retail business representing international brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, AllSaints, lululemon athletica, Crate & Barrel, LEGO and THAT, a Majid Al Futtaim fashion concept store and app. In addition, Majid Al Futtaim operates Enova, a facility and energy management company, through a joint venture operation with Veolia, a global leader in optimised environment resource management.
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