The first shopping centers appeared in Latin America in the late 1960s in Mexico and Brazil. Since then, boosted by a growing middle class, the shopping mall industry in the region continued to grow. Contrary to the traditional U.S. model where shopping centers were anchored by major department stores like JC Penney or Macy’s, in many Latin American countries malls are commonly anchored by a variety of businesses such as grocery stores, fitness centers, healthcare facilities, and office space.
In the region, Mexico has the highest number of shopping malls and is the country with the most variety of shopping mall formats. However, in 2019, Chile had the highest shopping center density, beating Colombia with its five registered retail precincts per one million population.
Leading shopping centers
Contrary to possible expectations, Latin America’s largest mall is not located in the region’s major economies, but the isthmus land of Panama. Albrook Mall, in Panama City, had over 300 thousand square meters of gross leasable area (GLA), followed by Leste Aricanduva, in São Paulo Brazil, with nearly 250 thousand square meters of GLA. Switching to Colombia, Unicentro shopping mall, located in the country’s capital city, recorded the highest revenues. However, Plaza Imperial was Colombia’s top shopping center in terms of visitor number, reaching an annual footfall of nearly 43 million.
Key figures for shopping malls across Latin America
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In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 35 most important statistics relating to "Shopping centers in Latin America".