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Hassan Syed

Executive Director (Resources), Twycross Zoo, United Kingdom

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What is your reason to drive to the shopping mall?

J.P Morgan is projecting $963B in online shopping for 2013. If I took $1,000 as an average spent per shopping trip, the world will be saving 963 million trips to shopping malls in 2013. Assuming a 10 mile one-way trip for shopping and an average gas consumption of 30MPG, the world will save 642 million gallons in gas consumption, $2.5B in gas cost and save 5,707,380 metric tons in carbon emissions. This is very interesting - if we also add driving time to this mix, with the assumption of 15 minutes each way, 481 million hours will be saved in one year.

I do understand that not everyone uses a car to go shopping, not everyone spends $1,000 per shopping trip, not all the malls are 10 miles away and not everyone drives a 30MPG car. These benefits can be estimated more accurately but still these are big numbers.

Read more here: http://socialcrowd.blogspot.com

Of course, there are reasons for us to go to the shopping mall. One of my biggest reason is that I worry about returning headache of online purchases, if I did not like something. What is your reason?

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    Apr 15 2012: A major factor is that online shopping does not provide the same sensory feedback. You can't flick through a book (Look Inside apps are not good enough). You can't try on clothing. Youcan't smell a perfume. You can't pick out the best fruit from a displaay. You can't feel the texture of a fabric, or look at a colour in daylight.

    The hassle of going to a shopping centre is offset by the fact that you may obtain what you need at the time you expend the effort.

    And returns arrangements for online purchases are discouraging. It often costs. It involves a trip to a post office, which is a chore.
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    Apr 14 2012: I will divide the question you pose into the "drive to" and the "go to."I expect the reason most people drive to the shopping mall is that it is too far to walk, that public transportation is too time-consuming or non-existent, or that the person anticipates having too much to carry back on foot or via public transportation. The reason to go to the shopping mall will vary among people. Typically it might be to find many of the things one might want to examine in one place. Take shoes, for example. A person needing a pair of shoes who is hard to fit may go to the mall to have many choices in one location to try on. It is true one can order a large number of shoes online at no shipping charge and try them all on,taking the rejected pairs (which are not light) back to the post office, but often it is easier and involves less weight-bearing to just try them on at the store. (Of course that there is no shipping charge does not mean there is no shipping cost. The merchandise is moved to ones front door via delivery trucks, so someone is driving around with the stuff, using time and fuel!).But the expansion of online sellers, such as Amazon, shows that people will substitute online for mall for many products.Another reason that is apparent when you visit a mall is that they have become indoor places of congregation for young people, for parents with small children, and for typically older mall-walkers. The visit, then, offers face-to-face social connections in a location protected from the elements (rain, cold, wind...). Malls, recognizing this function, often create something of a town square atmosphere by offering entertainment, play equipment for children, and so forth.