McKinsey’s misguided approach to shopping malls

Older consumers will generate 51 percent of urban consumption growth in developed countries according to a McKinsey report last year on The Global Consumers to Watch.

AF Brands app measures the customer experience through a prism of ageing.

It logically follows that companies building or managing shopping malls should give careful consideration to this group of potential customers in their forward planning. Right?

That’s why I am mystified by this recent report from …… McKinsey (yes, the same) titled; “Meeting millennials where they shop: Shaping the future of shopping malls”.

Shaping the future of shopping malls around Millennials!? What about everybody else!?

The fact is surely, that this issue is not an either/or situation. Shopping malls need to attract spenders and provide environments conducive to a pleasant experience all round. Not just for Millennials. Not just for oldies. For everyone!

The McKinsey report panders to the largely unjustified fever of excitement (and the fees their clients and prospects may be anxious to pay them) around the Millennial generation. This particular report highlights 5 areas where Millennials apparently need ‘special consideration’. Do these issues sound generationally-unique to you? 1) Entertainment 2) Food and drink 3) Retail 4) Transportation 5) Technology. Yawn! There are some nice ideas among them but few are unique in satisfying the needs of one generation over another.

It brings me back to a favourite expression;

‘If you design for the young, you’ll exclude the old. But design for the old and you’ll include everyone’.

The physical challenges that accompany natural ageing are relentless and universal. We identified 25 Effects of Ageing that impact the lives of people as they age, whether they are older consumers, citizens, patients or employees.

I just don’t understand why McKinsey would counsel clients to favour one generation over another particularly when this ignores some unique characteristics and needs of an arguably more powerful (older) segment. Do you?