Here's How Malls Might Get Popular Again

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Online shopping was supposed to destroy the mall. It did, in many ways, from the closure or diminution of myriad mall staples to the popularity of abandoned mall photography. For millennials, we may be proud to have put them on our "kill" list, but we're not the only consumers in town anymore. The mall could actually be on its way back.

Bloomberg's Jordyn Holman reports that our younger siblings, nieces, nephews, and niblings are way into the mall. In one three-month period last year, a staggering 95 percent of kids and young adults under the age of 22 and over 7 went to a physical shopping center, according to one survey. Just three-quarters of millennials and 58 percent of Gen X-ers, the original mallrats, did.

Granted, there's a strong possibility that many Gen Z shoppers weren't there independently — but those who were report liking in-person shopping more than digital consumption. Part of that is that they're staying closely integrated with their phones, and smart stores are meeting them where they are. If you didn't realize you can get significant discounts by showing a sales associate your appropriately hashtagged Snapchat or Instagram post, it may be time to get on that.

Research has shown that virtually all of us have some love for brick-and-mortar shopping. A lot of that comes down to feelings of community. After all, part of the reason malls were fun when we were younger was always the hanging out. With a new generation coming up behind us, everything old is indeed new again.