Jakarta: Mall capital of The World?

The answer is both yes and no. Yes, because with 173 malls within the city limits, there is almost one mall in every corner of the capital. But it’s also no because (surprise surprise!) people in Jakarta don’t go to malls as often as one is led to believe.

Jakartans love to go to malls. That’s no secret. Thanks to the relatively limited public spaces, malls are traditionally seen as the main go-to place for the majority of the capital’s inhabitants. It’s not just for shopping, but also dining, watching movies, hanging out with friends or even business meetings. But do you know that Jakarta’s upper and middle class (A+, A and B consumers) actually go to malls less often as their counterparts in Surabaya or Denpasar? Surprising as it seems, but the numbers don’t lie.  It appears that the people in Jakarta are already too accustomed to having these huge buildings among them, to the extent where Jakartans do not consider going there anymore. Another factor that might contribute to the lower visitations to malls are the notorious traffic jams.

In Jakarta consumers go to malls on average of 2.7 times in a month, consumers in Surabaya and Denpasar frequent them as many as 3.1 and 3 times respectively. In general SES A+ consumers go to malls most often (3.5 times) compared to 2.8 for B and 2.5 for A.

Interesting enough, despite being located far from many households in the north of the city, Mall Kelapa Gading leads in terms of awareness with up to 69% of the customers knowing it, followed by other popular destinations such as Plaza Senayan, Pondok Indah Mall and Senayan City. Not only the most popular, Mall Kelapa Gading also holds the distinction of being the most frequented (1.8 times per month) followed by Gandaria City (1.8) being much less known, Gandaria City seems to have its own loyal visitors.

In Surabaya and Denpasar, possibly owing to the smaller number of malls, the competition is much less fierce. Tunjungan Plaza and Discovery Shopping Mall lead in the respective city with average of 2 and 2.1 visits per month, much higher than the rest of the competition. Awareness is much less of an issue as in these 2 cities with practically everybody knowing the popular malls.

Despite the frequent visits to malls, Surabaya and Denpasar are still behind Jakarta if they are planning to compete to become the mall capital of Indonesia, let alone the world, due to the lower number of malls compared to the number citizens.

While there is nothing wrong with title of mall capital, perhaps it’s a sign that our cities are still neglecting alternative attractions. Fierce competition between malls is one thing, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see this kind of competition of the favour of customers attention between museums, galleries, and parks? Maybe it is just a matter of time that Jakarta would be the next park capital of the world. Well, who knows?

But just in case, you want an alternative to a mall this weekend, perhaps you can try Jakarta’s tourism website. There is abundant information about alternative activities one can do in the capital. And they are definitely not bad at all.


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