A mall is defined as a place where people can exchange values meaning money exchanged for goods and services. There are a lot of various malls in the world. Every mall has its own identity and peculiar qualities. Malls were designed so that the consumers could satisfy their needs. However, nowadays there are malls that are intended not only for shopping but for offering new social and lifestyle experience as well. In addition, malls add significant values to the community. According to Ryan (2005), this statement can be illustrated with the evolution of a regional shopping mall, which used to be a basic shopping facility, into a mini-city. In the past, people used to regard the appearance of malls as the development of shopping facilities without taking into consideration the cultural aspect.
The Dubai Mall is one of the most well-known and spectacular shopping centers of such kind that offer not only shopping opportunities but also social and lifestyle experience. It is deemed to be one of the most visited malls and leisure centers in the Middle East. It is located in the extraordinary city of Dubai, in the downtown area next to Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made skyscraper in the world. It is a modern architectural structure with high level of accessibility accomplished by Emaar in less than four years. This grandiose construction process required 1,380,000 labor hours. Over 13,800 tons of structural steel were used to complete this magnificent shopping mall. It has the total internal floor area of 5.9 million square feet; the size equals to the size of 50 football pitches. It is a four-level mall with ten level parking lots. There are 95 elevators and 150 escalators all over four levels of the mall. In addition, it has 1,200 retail outlets, two anchor departments, 160 food and beverage outlets, two game centers, a medical center, a 4 level cinema, an ice skating ring, and an aquarium. In addition, in front of the mall there is the largest fountain show in the world that shoots water 500 feet high into to the air and uses laser techniques and theme music to make the displayed show unforgettable. The Dubai Mall can be described in different aspects which prove that it is significantly different from other malls in the world.
The layout of the Dubai Mall is designed in strict accordance with modern standards under the supervision of professional engineers from different countries around the globe. It has fascinating design that marvels and surprises all the visitors. Anchor stores are mostly the supermarkets that are located inside malls to attract consumers who are interested in doing other things apart from mere supermarket shopping. As for the Dubai Mall, it has two anchor stores such as All Day Mini Mart and Waitrose. However, the unique thing about the Dubai Mall is the astonishing diversity of the available stores. More than thirty categories such as fashion, eyewear, footwear, and loads of others are presented here. Subcategories of the shops are the most interesting feature of categorization of shops in the Dubai Mall. For instance, if one goes to Dubai Mall for fashion shopping, one will notice a wide range of shops that Dubai mall has. Under fashion shops category there is fashion for men, fashion for children, fashion for women, and much more. If a person wants to purchase men supplies such as the traditional Emarati Kandora, then the product he wants to buy goes under fashion for men (category, subcategory).
Apart from shopping, the Dubai Mall affords an opportunity of watching the fountain show, going to the Aquarium or seeing the Burj Khalifa. Surprisingly enough, the Dubai Mall is not merely a shopping center but it is the place that people like to go to since it enables them to get a combination of shopping and life experience and lose themselves in the atmosphere of socializing and interaction. It is the place where they can have fun at the games centers like Sega or enjoying chitchat while having a cup of coffee at Starbucks café.
It is an indisputable fact that the Dubai Mall belongs to the most visited malls in the world. Many people from around the world who either live in the UAE or just stay there go to the Dubai Mall for different reasons. The Dubai Mall is a very busy place throughout the whole year since visitors from all over the UAE go there. However, if you take a closer look at the Dubai Mall visitors, you will notice that the categories of people who go there change from to time throughout the day. On the weekends, you will see all kinds of people there including teenagers, shoppers, tourists, and locals. The priorities of most people who go to the Dubai Mall on the weekends are leisure activities, not shopping. They might go to watch a movie in the movie theater “Real Cinema”. Besides, they might eat out at one of the restaurants there. Thus, purchasing goods is only one item on the list of reasons for visiting the Dubai Mall, the others being fun and entertainment.
The most frequent visitors of the Dubai Mall on the weekends are teenagers and young adults. Their objective is to have fun with their friends, watch a movie, get entertainment at the game centers, or go to have a good meal in one of the top restaurants that the Dubai Mall has. In addition, Saturday and Sundays are favorite days for the families who go to the Dubai Mall to have fun and spend a good time with each other. The majority of people who go to the Dubai Mall on weekends do that not alone, but in groups. Friends and families choose this place since it provides for high quality fun and entertainment. They enjoy meeting here as the Dubai Mall has all the facilities required for having a good time. Undoubtedly, shopping is still one of the reasons of going here, but at the same time the visitors strive for having fun and relaxation.
On the other hand, the Dubai Mall is still busy on the weekdays. Crowds of people do shopping at the Dubai Mall on the weekdays. If you come here on any of the weekdays, you will see that most of the visitors are adults. Some of them might go there to dine, but the main reason is to shop because the shopping center is not as crowded as it is on the weekends. On the weekdays, you will find individual shoppers more frequently than groups. It can be explained with their intention to do the shopping as soon as possible and leave having all they need. Since the Dubai Mall is widely known for having numerous shops and retail outlets, they reckon to find everything they need in one place. Throughout the week regardless of the day, you find both genders visiting the stores that interest them. Men go to shop for men clothing and women visit the women’s departments. Thus, the Dubai Mall is a popular place among people of all ages and genders any time throughout the week. Furthermore, one of the important reasons of good attendance at the Dubai Mall in the vacation periods is the fact that many people from all neighboring GCC countries come to Dubai for a vacation. There are a lot of hotels around the Dubai Mall which are full with visitors during this time of the year. Since the Dubai Mall is the nearest place for them to visit and it has everything they need to have fun, they go there to spend a nice vacation with their friends and family.
The Dubai Mall comprises a lot of stores and many different people shop there. Besides, there is a great variety of store categories in the Dubai Mall. Each and every category has its customers. For example, in the fashion department, you will find many people who go there for clothes. Men and women go to this section to get suits, shirts, skirts, dresses and other kinds of clothing. Visitors who come to the Dubai Mall in order to have fun in that place are rare. However, in other parts of the mall you will find those who came there for entertainment. For instance, people in the library are those who intended to relax in the library, read books, get new information and have a quiet time alone. People in the cinema expect to watch a movie, while those in the dining area want to have a good meal with their families or friends. So, every section in the mall has its own peculiar character. The people you see in those sections belong to different categories of shoppers and visitors. So, not only the areas of the mall are categorized, the mall shoppers may also fall into certain categories. The most visited places in the Dubai Mall are game centers, restaurants and cafes, a cinema, a fountain, an aquarium, and an ice skating rink. Visitors give their preference to them in the Dubai Mall because there they can go to meet their friends and family in order to spend a good time together. Thus, most of the people who go to the Dubai Mall want to have fun and enjoy themselves with their relatives or peers. That is why the Dubai Mall is defined not only as a shopping center, but as the place that provides opportunities for having fun and getting social and life experience.
What makes the Dubai Mall similar to other malls is categorization of shops as well as having a cinema and coffee shops. To illustrate further, the Dubai mall has shops that are similar to those of MirdafCityCenter. Both of the shopping centers have a Starbucks café and Chocolate bar Café respectively. The difference between them is that Starbucks Café is located in the fountain show area where people can drink coffee and enjoy watching the fountain show and the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It is known that both the Dubai Mall and MirdefCityCenter have parking spaces; however, the Dubai Mall is optimized for parking around 14,000 cars while the MirdefCity center can provide space for around 7,000 cars. The cinema is a facility that both of the malls have but the difference between them is that the cinema in Dubai Mall is a four-level cinema while there is only a one-level cinema in MirdefCity center. One of the most important advantages of the Dubai Mall is the availability of a medical center for emergency calls, while in MirdefCityCenter there is no medical center.
Besides, the Dubai Mall has a lot of lovely outdoor cafes and restaurants that enable the visitors to enjoy the lovely weather; however, in Mirdef City Center there is hardly any café or restaurant with outdoor place to the customers which makes it less attractive. What makes Dubai Mall different from other malls is the availability of hotels located in the vicinity. For example, the Address Hotel is even connected to the mall with the help of the bridge so that it would be comfortable to the hotel guests to go from the hotel to the mall and back. In addition, Dubai mall is designed to attract people from different backgrounds, ethnic groups, income or social standing. This is because the aim of the Mall is to be a universal place that welcomes everyone notwithstanding their nationalities. Besides, it has a favorable location in the downtown area of Dubai. In contrast, the ArabianCenter located in Al Kawanej area mostly attracts local people. The reason of this phenomenon is that the ArabianCenter is located in the area adjacent to such neighborhoods as Al Wergah, AL Kawanej, AL Rashidia where local people reside. Moreover, the Dubai Mall in the fountain area faces another shopping mall which is called Souq Al Behar and is connected to the Dubai Mall with a small bridge. Souq AL Behar is different from Dubai Mall in terms of shops categories. It has a shopping category that distinguishes it from the Dubai Mall - that is antique stores. One of its stores is AL Jaber Gallery which sells antique statues; this shop goes under antique category and statues subcategory.
The Dubai Mall is one of the most spectacular sites in the United Arab Emirates. When someone mentions the Dubai Mall in the conversation, they try to describe in detail what they have experienced during their visit. The Dubai Mall bears the title of the largest mall in the world; this is one of the reasons why people are so amazed at it. The Dubai Mall can offer anything that a visitor may need. It is a contemporary center tailored for modern people’s tastes. It has all the things one can imagine or even more. A traditional concept of a mall for most people is a place for shopping. The Dubai Mall is designed not only for shopping; it is the place for everyone at any time and it can offer any service a person can require in a mall. This mall is a present-day modernized wonder because it has gone far beyond traditional idea of a mall. From time to time they arrange various events and occasions for people to show that they can try a different kind of leisure here. The appropriate idea of the Dubai Mall is a small city that people visit for different reasons. So, the Dubai Mall is what you can think of a mall and much more. The Dubai Mall is the embodiment of the malls’ future and an example to follow. It is so fantastic and unreal that people would fall in love with the mall as soon as they enter it. That is why people never get tired of visiting the Dubai Mall. Another reason is that the Dubai Mall exerts every possible effort to retain their customers. It does everything people want to increase the number of visitors. The Dubai Mall is aimed at being a fulfillment of the dream of a mall.
One of the purposes of the Dubai Mall is to connect people of different ethnicities. Thus, it is considered to be a public space because of the availability of coffee shops, lounges, and restaurants. The Dubai Mall is designed so that people could come and enjoy the experience. A lot of people go to the Dubai Mall not spending any cash because the fountain area provides for public chairs. There is also a small park near the fountain area so that people could enjoy the view of the fountain show and the Burj Khalifa. Visitors like not only the place itself; they also enjoy the events and occasions in the Dubai Mall area. For example, the Dubai Mall places the tallest Christmas tree or there is a celebration of the national day of the UAE. Another occasion was the photography exhibition last year when they had a competition on Instagram and selected the winners who could display their photos in front of the public in the Dubai Mall. Moreover, the Dubai Mall participates in the Earth hour event where they save energy by switching off unnecessary lights or energy in the mall.
One of the memorable events for me related to the Dubai Mall was an incident that happened when I was drinking cappuccino in the Address Hotel lounge wearing Kandora. It is my habit though most of the people go to the Address lounge to consume alcohol drinks. A foreigner lady who was sitting next to my table asked me why I was drinking cappuccino in a lounge. My response was that I really loved the place and was entitled to enjoy the atmosphere as long as I did not commit anything against the religious principles.
When someone visits the Dubai Mall, it is evident for them that a lot of people go there to have fun and most of the retail outlets are ignored. The Dubai Mall is a place for both shopping and leisure. Most of the visitors go there to have more than doing shopping, though not all of them. In fact, there is no contradiction between fun and commerce in the Dubai Mall. On the contrary, fun completes commerce. If the Dubai Mall had only retail outlets and anchor departments, the mall would be dull and people would come to buy the thing they need and leave. Yet, here people who go shopping also have lunch or watch a movie. They have time for shopping before the movie starts. Thus, having fun and commerce at the same place is effective and commercially viable. In addition, the strategic location of the Dubai Mall contributes greatly in its profitability. People can easily reach the Dubai Mall and do whatever they wish from fun to shopping. This is an ideal image of a mall these days. To retain customers, malls should have everything customer need and offer them the best time of their lives in one place. This is how malls should carry their businesses providing opportunities for fun and enriching life experience.
There was a survey aimed at getting to know the attitude of people towards going to the malls. One man has told that he goes to the mall to socialize with his friends in a coffee shop or take his wife out to have a romantic dinner. Another person, a shopper of our age, views malls as the core of the UAE since the weather is not perfect all the year round, and it is problematic to have fun and to spend leisure time especially in the summer. Responses were different depending on the age of the respondents. They proved that a mall is a perfect place for people of different age. It does not provide a visitor with only a shopping experience, it influences everybody’s way of life. The outdated concept of malls as places where people exchanged goods and service is gone, the contemporary people believe that malls are the place to gain experience in different aspects.
To sum up, the percentage of visitors in malls goes up every year and it even exceeds that of popular tourist destinations. This tendency is going to persist as it is understandable that people want to get all services and goods quickly and efficiently. Besides, modern life realities restricted the possibilities of communication, while shopping in malls makes it possible to restore old traditions of friendly intercourse. The Dubai Mall can serve as a perfect example of an effective combination of successful business and entertainment.