This Mall Is Your Mall, This Mall Is My Mall - Pacific Standard

This Mall Is Your Mall, This Mall Is My Mall

The psychological difference between shopping with a friend and shopping with a family member.
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Mall of America. (Photo: Jeffrey J Coleman/Shutterstock)

Mall of America. (Photo: Jeffrey J Coleman/Shutterstock)

We all have many emotional connections to nurture, so it’s forgivable if you haven’t given much thought to your relationship with your shopping mall.

But a research team based in Canada explored this affiliation in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, asking 1,055 shoppers at two malls to respond to such statements as “I feel like I am part of the family at this mall” and “This mall deserves my loyalty.”

Upscale malls are more likely to generate an emotional bond, and—surprisingly—male shoppers feel as strongly attached to their malls as females.

Among its findings: Shopping with a friend heightens the retail experience (in part by creating “a feeling of competition and social comparison”), and thereby strengthens attachment to the mall. (A family member tagging along doesn’t have the same effect.)

The researchers, led by Jean-Charles Chebat of HEC Montreal, report that upscale malls are more likely to generate an emotional bond, and—surprisingly—male shoppers feel as strongly attached to their malls as females.

Apparently you don’t need to be a gal to love the Galleria.

This post originally appeared in the May/June 2014 issue ofPacific Standardas “This Mall Is Your Mall, This Mall Is My Mall.” For more, subscribe to our print magazine.

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