Some may still recall that many shopping malls used to attract customers by inviting ‘super idols’ and celebrities with their singing or dancing performances. But customers’ tastes are changing and they have recently started to turn to a new industry - eSports.
eSports may offer mall owners the tantalizing vision of hundreds or even thousands of gaming fans filling up major arenas as they do now. Whether the pro sports-sized crowds will materialize for anything other than the biggest tournaments is another matter, however.
A form of competition using video games is called eSports. Sounds childish? Yahoo has an entire YouTube channel dedicated to this sport and gaming is being talked up as a potential medal event at the 2024 Olympics. In 2017, CNN noted that the global audience for eSports climbed to 292 million and some even project that this number could double by 2019.
Attracting a big crowd at one of the esports events in Hong Kong's shopping mall
Owners of shopping malls have spotted the potential of this trend. Recently, a famous entertainment company arranged an eSports event in a shopping mall in Hung Hom and attracted the largest audience for any event since the mall opened. More shopping malls are likely to follow suit and we could easily see this eSports industry and culture expanding further.
This is good news as nowadays, online shopping dominates the behavior of shoppers. To attract them to physically shop in malls, new ‘crossover’ activities from online to offline have to be introduced so as to enhance the customer experience and appeal to the next generation.
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