Regional centres vie for Christmas shoppers with commercial areas

The survey shows shopping in Sliema and Valletta declining slightly over last year’s levels while Mosta and Birkirkara register a surge. 

James Debono
23 December 2015, 2:47pm
A MaltaToday survey shows that annual shopping is becoming more diversified, with regional hubs like Paola, Mosta and Birkirkara taking a greater share of the market.

At the same time the survey shows that 18% of respondents buy most of their presents over the internet. The percentage rises to 33.3% among 18-34 year olds. This means that a third of young people buy more presents on-line than from retail establishments.

Respondents were asked from which localities they have bought their Christmas presents. Respondents could mention more than one locality.

The survey shows shopping in Sliema and Valletta declining slightly over last year’s levels while Mosta and Birkirkara register a surge.  

The sharpest increase is noted in Mosta, which registers a four-point increase over last year. This coincides with the opening of the new Pama shopping centre. Birkirkara, which has not seen any new major shopping development, also registers a two-point increase in its share. Paola and Fgura have also consolidated their position as the third force in Maltese shopping.    

Hamrun, which had seen an increase in its share in 2012 and 2013 – which also coincided with the opening of a new shopping centre – registers a three-point dip in this survey.

The survey confirms past trends, with Valletta remaining the preferred shopping location of older respondents and Sliema the preferred shopping location of younger ones. 

The survey also shows that while older respondents prefer buying presents from small shops, the shopping mall is the preferred shopping experience of middle aged respondents.  

18- to 34-year olds are equally split between the internet and the shopping mall. 

Far from hipsters, the majority of young respondents prefer shopping malls to small shops. Only 11% of 18- to 34-year olds prefer small shops.

Significantly, a large percentage of older respondents prefer giving monetary gifts. 41% of over 55-year olds say that they only give cash gifts.  

This suggests that elderly people are the source of an annual cash injection which fuels the consumption of younger people during the festivities. This stands out as an overlooked case of inter generational solidarity, which sees the older generation helping the young.

Only 5% do not give any presents at Christmas. Interestingly 5% of over 55-year olds buy presents from supermarkets.

James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...