The location and the commercial offer are the most important criteria taken into consideration by parents visiting shopping centres with children – these are the main conclusions from the research conducted by Colliers International in cooperation with the Polish Council of Shopping Centres (PRCH) and Ariadna (research agency) in the eight biggest Polish agglomerations in terms of shopping centre child-friendliness.
The analysis comprised of three elements. First, there was the inspection, according to the criteria of Colliers experts. Second, PRCH employees conducted surveys with selected shopping centre managers and owners. Third, there was the survey done by Ariadna agency conducted with selected city inhabitants, who have children under the age of 12 and regularly visit shopping centres. The survey covered 90 shopping centres of a total area of approx. 4.1 million sqm. Facilities with over 20,000 sqm and at least 60 retail units have been analysed.
On the basis of this research, the report, together with the ranking of the most child-friendly shopping centres, will be published. It will help to indicate best practises and areas of development for shopping centres, in light of constantly increasing social expectations.
First of all, the location
Research shows that the decision about taking children to the shopping centre is primarily determined by the location (understood as a distance from home, public transport access and travel time) and the shopping offer – as was indicated by over a half of the reviewed urban agglomeration residents For over 30% of respondents the most important factors are also comfortable car parks, the leisure offer and the comfort of the area within the centre.
“Parents are becoming more informed consumers – while choosing the offer, they pay attention to the quality of the infrastructure and safety issues, as well as to comfort and accessibility. That is why, in shopping centres across the country, we may see more and more facilities, designed especially for children. What counts most, are new ideas and a customized approach, as well as understanding the needs of parents and their children. A modern shopping centre has to ensure entertainment, activities and be friendly and comfortable at the same time. Parents want to be sure that their children will have fun while remaining safe,” comments Klaudia Sionek, Analyst, Research and Consultancy Services at Colliers International.
“Adjusting the shopping centre offer to the demands of parents and their children is one of the most fundamental goals set by managers and owners of the investments. Most of them have already modernized the facilities or have plans to do so in 2018. This is a result of the latest market trends. Customers increasingly look at a shopping centre as a place to spend leisure time with the family, not just an area where they can cover their common purchasing needs. Shopping centres will be now forced to continually meet the needs of families,” says Anna Zachara Widła, Research & Education Projects Manager, Polish Council of Shopping Centres.
Sunday trading ban leaves insignificant impact
The results of the research show that the trading ban on selected Sundays, introduced on the 1st of March, for most of Poles with children have not influenced the frequency of visits in shopping centres. Most of them decide to do the shopping during the week (almost 40%), and every third parent usually chooses Saturdays. At the same time, 28% of respondents visit shopping centres also on Sundays, during the trading ban, as they are interested in cinemas or restaurants. Among cities with the highest visit frequency are Warsaw, Wrocław and Katowice
“Families with children should represent an important group for shopping centre owners, because almost one third of the interviewed parents visit these facilities on Sundays during a trading ban – it its almost three times more than an average result among all Polish adults (about 19%),” says Dr Tomasz Baran, Faculty of Psychology at University of Warsaw, programme partner in Ariadna’s panel.
The most child-friendly shopping centres
Among the 18 shopping centres in Warsaw, including 5 facilities beyond the administrative city limits, the highest in the ranking are: Arkadia, Złote Tarasy and Wola Park. The review was impeded due to the big amount of modernization and construction works, which eventually are going to increase the standard of the facilities. Special attention is brought to numerous playgrounds, playrooms, relaxation areas, colourful nursing rooms, as well as wristbands for children introduced by various shopping centres that can be of help in case a child is missing.
In Tricity, 11 facilities were analysed, with a total area of 424,000 sqm. Centrum Bałtycka in Gdańsk was ranked best by the customers Centrum Rivera in Gdynia took second position and Auchan Gdańsk was third. Among the discriminants of the seaside centres are availability and good quality of shopping car-carts – one may rent it in almost every shopping centre. At the same time, more and more managers focus on building the special infrastructure, encouraging children to pass the time in a fun and pleasant way.
Experts researched 9 biggest shopping centres, with a total area of 446,800 sqm. The majority is adapted to meet the needs of families, and some of them offer unique attractions, such as free cinemas, theatres, video-game rentals with game consoles. Very few of Kraków centres can boast of many family-friendly restaurants. The exception is Galeria Kazimierz. The most child-friendly shopping centres are Galeria Krakowska, Bonarka City Center (second place) and Galeria Bronowice (third place).
In Łódź, there were 7 shopping centres analysed, with a total area of 410,000 sqm. Based on the opinion of the respondents, the best entertainment for kids offers Manufaktura centre. Next places in the ranking are occupied by Port Łódź and Galeria Łódzka. The result of the research showed that centres in Łódź are better prepared for their youngest customers, as well as their parents, but there is still room for progress.
In the capital of the Lower Silesia, experts visited 11 facilities of a total area of over 521,000 sqm, located in the city centre and in the suburbs. The most child-friendly centres are Magnolia Park, Aleja Bielany and Pasaż Grunwaldzki. Most of Wrocław’s centres have visible signs, which simplifies doing shopping with a child in a stroller, which is especially important for parents. However, accessibility and quality of parking places dedicated to families with children should be improved.
Experts analysed 12 facilities with a total amount of approx. 550,000 sqm. Most of the centres in Poznań offer a wide range of facilities and attractions for families with children. However, there are also centres which are not child-friendly at all. In the opinion of the respondents the best shopping centres are: Posnania, Galeria Malta and Poznań Plaza.
Experts visited 5 shopping centres in Szczecin, with a total area of 186,000 sqm. According to the respondents, the best centres for children are Galaxy and Kaskada. The overall perception is positive – shopping centres in Szczecin are well-prepared for the visits of families with children. Nonetheless, managers should draw their attention to the safety of children and not very family-friendly restaurant areas.
In Silesia, experts visited a total of 17 shopping centres in the following cities: Katowice, Bytom, Gliwice, Tychy, Mikołów, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Sosnowiec and Jaworzno, with a total area of approx. 682,000 sqm. Parents considered: Silesia City Center, Galeria Katowicka and 3 Stawy as the most child-friendly facilities. Most of centres can boast of a satisfying number of stores with a range of children’s products. However, there is room for improvement when it comes to relaxation zones and food court areas.