THE INDONESIAN Shopping Center Management Association (APPBI) predicts that the level of visits to shopping centers or malls in 2022 will increase to 80% from normal conditions before the COVID-19 pandemic, even though online shopping trends have been rife in the community.

“We estimate that the level of visits to shopping centers in 2022 will be better than 2020 and 2021. If 2020 the national average is only 50% of normal conditions, 2021, 60%, in 2022 we predict it can be 70 to 80%,” said Chairman of the Central Executive Board (DPP) APPBI Alphonzus Widjaja in Jakarta, Wednesday (8/3).

For comparison, the average number of visitors to one medium-sized mall per day was 30,000 people in 2019 or before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We also hope that we have entered the second semester where sales continue to move up. We estimate it can reach 70 to 80 percent compared to normal conditions,” he said.

According to Alphonzus, although currently online shopping has become a trend due to limited mobility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people still miss shopping directly at malls.

“I think now people have missed the mall after two years of not going to the mall because of various restrictions,” he remarked.

Alphonzus also said that the increase in the level of visits to shopping centers was due to conditions that are currently starting to improve, where the government has begun to relax the mobility of the people. In addition, most people have also been vaccinated.

“After two years of living in virtual conditions, it’s time for us to return to normal life to be able to interact with each other directly, not virtual,” he added.

However, Alphonzus still appealed to apply strict health protocols when shopping. Shopping centers also still have to implement the PeduliLindung application in order to create a safe and comfortable shopping atmosphere for visitors.

As for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Alphonzus reminded that there are two challenges that must be solved when entering a shopping center in the midst of increasing visits.

“From the MSME side, what must be a concern is the consistency of the quality of goods and supply. If you enter a shopping center, supply must be maintained, as well as quality,” Alphonzus noted.

“Because later there will be a lot of competition with other products which of course they are competing to give the best,” he concluded. [antaranews/photo special]