The Gruen Effect in Relation to Shopping Malls


Shopping malls have played a key role in shaping the faces of cities since the mid twentieth century. They have not only changed the physical appearance of the cities and the architecture, but also our relationship in relation to urban places and the relationships we establish socially. In every day of our lives, we are always faced by the Gruen Effect. The Gruen Effect can best be described as when potential consumers enter a store or a shopping mall, and with which they are surrounded by an impeccable layout that is confusing. This makes them not to focus on what they intended to buy and end up with more than what they required. This is also termed as impulse buying. The Gruen Effect was named after Victor Gruen. This paper is basically going to analyze The Gruen Effect in relation to shopping malls by explaining how its arrangement, layout, plan and components influence or affects a person’s behavior.

The layout and behavior

It can be argued that a good design will automatically lead to good profits. A shopping mall is comprised of many shops. Before consumer enter a shopping mall to buy goods, most of them make early preparations of what they are going to buy. The can decide to write shopping lists. Despite all these arrangements, consumers end up buying more than what they intended to buy. This can best be explained by the layout in which the shopping malls or stores are designed. The layout is made in a way that a consumer will take a longer time in the store and end up spending more than what they intended. The layout confuses the consumers. Shopping malls and stores are majorly designed to purposely to confuse consumer to achieve impulse buying. More often people find themselves looking for an item and end up getting lost in the store and lose track of what they wanted.

The plan, arrangement and components of items and influence on behavior

The arrangement of items in different stores in a mall is so impeccable. Consumers are not aware that these shopping malls are designed to look extremely beautiful to attract their eyes. This makes them want to purchase more items. The displays are decorated and enticing to a consumer. The items are also in large quantities. The arrangement changes our behavior on common understanding of properties.

Shopping malls are architecturally planned in a way that they have speakers to provide soothing music for the consumers. There are also fountains, elevators and escalators in the malls. This makes consumers to divert their attention from other places to the shopping malls. With all this in place, they feel comfortable to spend their money without complains.

Big shopping malls contain private areas for people to relax and do their own things. The private spaces are majorly pushed by commercial success by the shopping mall owners something which a consumer does not realize that it is profit oriented. The environment is made very conducive to attract more people.

Shopping malls have become public magnets. This has changed the behavior of consumer because they spend long hours in the malls. Shopping malls changes normal public places to private spaces for consumers. After long hours of work people want to find a place where the air is conditioned and climate controlled environments making them comfortable. Malls are places where people can escape the strong sun’s rays of heat. This is basically what a private space in a shopping mall plays as a role. People gather in this places and spend their money. Shopping malls have changed normal shopping into an experience because they have more to offer.

The components of shopping malls include; hotels, banks, boutiques, offices, cultural centers among others. They make consumer needs convenient and easy to satisfy. The malls are so huge that allows individuals to walk through a path in order to find what they are looking for.


Shopping malls are constantly developing because of the developing shopping habits of individuals. This paper has handled The Gruen Effect in relation to shopping malls. The layout, plan, arrangement and the components of shopping mall and how they affect or influence human behavior.

Works cited

  • Hardwick, M. Mall maker: Victor Gruen, architect of an American dream. The University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. 20-30
  • Healy, S. 'The Atmospheres of consumption: Shopping as involuntary.' Emotion, Space and Society 10 (2014): 35-43.      
07 July 2022
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