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  • New research found that shopping centres in business districts, wealthier suburbs and larger in size have been hardest hit by the lockdown. 
  • Overall trips to shoppings centres have declined by 66%. 
  • The research found that people prefer shopping closer to home, rather than at places closer to their work or schools. 
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

Shopping centres situated in business districts, in wealthier neighbourhoods and larger in size have been hardest hit by the national lockdown, new research from property research group Lightstone found. 

The research by Lightstone using vehicle data supplied by Tracker found that overall shopping centres across the country have seen a drop of 66% in shoppers compared to the situation before the lockdown. 

Lightstone found that shopping centres in business areas have seen a marked decline in market share as consumers choose shopping destinations closer to home, instead of those closer to their work and schools. 

Shopping centres outside of the ring road that circles the Johannesburg CBD is, for example, gaining market share, while those inside have seen a decline. 

(supplied, Lightstone)
(supplied, Lightstone)

Wealthier residential suburbs along William Nicol drive from Rosebank, through Bryanston, into Fourways have also seen a marked decreased share in visits.

Lightstone said this cannot be as a result of stockpiling, as these shopping centres already saw a decline in market share the week before the lockdown. 

(supplied, Lightstone)
(supplied, Lightstone)

It found that countrywide consumers also chose to avoid larger stores in favour of smaller convenience stores where they can shop for essentials, and spend less time. 

Lightstone said townships appear to be a mixed bag, where shopping centres in Soweto and Mamelodi have increased their market share, while those in Diepsloot and Tembisa have seen a lower share than before lockdown. 

The first two days after the lockdown, market share of township shopping centres increased as many people received their salaries. 

Lightstone said it is important to note that while some shopping centres may be enjoying a bigger market share, the overall visits to shopping centres have diminished, which means the entire retail industry is still being significantly impacted.

Before the lockdown visits to major shopping centres averaged 16.6 million trips in a six-day period. This declined to 5.7 million in the first six days of the lockdown. 

The Easter Cape’s visits declined by 59% and the Western Cape by 68%. 

(compiled by James de Villiers)

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