The dizzying growth of India’s malls, in one chart

A day in the life of a mall.
A day in the life of a mall.
Image: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri
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Shopping malls were the flavour of India’s urban development in 2000s. India added a dizzying number of such properties in the last two decades, even though they also shuttered down quite frequently.

Data from real estate consultancy JJL India suggests that, overall, the number of malls in India increased from nine in 2002 to 308 in 2017. Mindless investment, coupled with a global slump, spoilt the party for a few years during this period.

Indian investors took to malls a decade after the country’s economic liberalisation, hoping to capture rising consumerism here. “Building malls in the early 2000s was seen as a glamorous business without realising what it takes to run them,” said Ashutosh Limaye, who heads research for JLL India.

The 2008 global financial crisis forced developers to hit pause. As investor sentiment dipped, many plans were deferred or even dropped between 2008-2010. Since 2011, however, developers have turned more conservative. This has left a handful of serious investors and developers, who are now showing a renewed interest in this retail format.