Business Categories Reports Podcasts Events Awards Webinars
Contact My Account About

The Best Luxury Malls in Africa

Published July 4, 2024
Published July 4, 2024
Jimmy Chang via Unsplash

Despite economic crises, Africa’s beauty and wellness industry has been experiencing rapid growth, reflecting a broader development and increasing consumer sophistication across the continent. From state-of-the-art facilities to cutting-edge architectural designs, luxury beauty and wellness malls are sprouting up in major cities, catering to a burgeoning and smaller crop of middle and upper classes that value quality and exclusivity. According to AFR-IX telecom, an infrastructure and licensed telecommunication operator that delivers internet data, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), software-defined networking (SDN), and advanced managed solutions to corporations and telecommunication operators in Africa, North Africa has a stronghold on middle-class individuals, with Tunisia coming in first place with a concentration of almost 90%, Morocco a close second with 85%, and Egypt in third place with 80%.

Africa's infrastructure has seen significant improvements, particularly in urban areas where modern shopping complexes and luxury malls are becoming more prevalent. According to CNBC Africa, the African real estate market is expected to be worth $15.9 trillion by 2024. These developments are supported by increased investment in real estate and commercial construction. Countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Morocco are leading the charge with cutting-edge malls that rival those in Western countries. These infrastructures are not just functional. They are designed to offer an immersive shopping experience and blend luxury with cultural aesthetics.

It is a stark representation of how design plays a crucial role in attracting consumers to luxury beauty and wellness malls. According to Capital One, 45% of consumers in the US primarily shop in brick-and-mortar stores as opposed to online. Also, according to recent Statista data, retail sales for the beauty industry currently account for 83.7%, while e-commerce accounts for 22.2%. The architecture and interior design of a mall can significantly influence consumer behavior, creating an ambiance that encourages spending and repeat visits. Elements such as lighting, spatial arrangement, and aesthetic appeal contribute to an environment where consumers feel pampered and valued. A well-designed mall can evoke a sense of exclusivity and opulence, making consumers more inclined to indulge in luxury products and services.

In Africa, malls sometimes take on a cultural role. Historically, they have served as hubs for trade and social interaction. Today, modern malls have become a communal space to gather, socialize, and enjoy leisure activities. Malls in Africa also often serve as venues for cultural events, exhibitions, and performances. Here, we explore seven of the most notable luxury beauty and wellness malls in Africa, each perfectly corroborating a unique blend of architectural brilliance and premium store curation.

Sandton City, South Africa

Located in Johannesburg, Sandton City is one of the largest and most prestigious malls in Africa. The 21-story mall is 146,803 square meters (1,579,600 square feet). Its architectural design is a seamless blend of modernity and elegance, featuring expansive glass facades and sophisticated interiors. The Diamond Walk, an exclusive section of the mall, hosts high-end beauty brands like Chanel, Dior, and Estée Lauder. The design elements, such as marble flooring and ambient lighting, create a luxurious shopping atmosphere that draws consumers in. Brands like Skin Cosmetics, Hugo Boss, and The Body Shop have flagship stores in the mall.

In 2022, Sandton City, developed in 1973 by development company Rapp and Maister, reported that they recorded more than 23.5 million customers in the first four months of the year. This was a 14.6% increase from April 2019, and a 19.5% increase from April 2021.

The Palms Shopping Mall, Nigeria

Situated in Lagos, The Palms Shopping Mall is renowned for its contemporary design and vibrant atmosphere. With sleek, modern architecture and spacious layouts, it houses a variety of beauty and wellness stores, including luxury spas and high-end cosmetic retailers. L’Occitane, Lancome, MAC Cosmetics, and many more are a few of the international brands present. The mall’s design emphasizes open spaces and natural light, providing a serene environment that enhances the shopping experience for customers.

The Palms comprises two storys with a total build area of around 25,000 square meters (xx square feet), with approximately 20,500 square meters (220,580 square feet) of leaseable space. Developed by The Persianas Properties in 2004, The Palms shopping mall attracts more than 600,000 consumers per month.

Morocco Mall, Morocco

As the largest mall in Africa, located in Casablanca, Morocco Mall is a marvel of modern architecture. Its design features a stunning combination of traditional Moroccan elements and contemporary aesthetics. Built in 2011, the mall spans an impressive 590,000 square meters (6,348,400 square feet) of floor space. The mall includes an extensive range of luxury beauty and wellness stores, such as the Galeries Lafayette, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton, offering premium skincare and fragrance brands. The interior design is characterized by intricate mosaics and grand atriums, embodying the very essence of luxury.

Two Rivers Mall, Kenya

Two Rivers Mall in Nairobi is a testament to Kenya’s growing luxury market. The mall’s design integrates natural elements with modern architecture, featuring lush landscaping and water features. High-end beauty stores like MAC Cosmetics and wellness centers offering bespoke treatments can be found here. The mall’s design promotes tranquility and relaxation through the landscaping and water features, enhancing the overall luxury experience for consumers.

Two Rivers Mall was designed in 2017 by the architectural firm, Boogertman + Partners, although its infrastructural plan was designed by ChapmanBDSP. Outside of South Africa, it is the largest mall in Sub-Saharan Africa, covering a total of 67,000 square meters (720,920 square feet), on 11 acres of land. It was reported to have attracted over 35,000 people in three days when it first launched.

Accra Mall, Ghana

Accra Mall, situated in the capital city of Ghana, combines modern design with a touch of African heritage. The mall’s open and airy layout, coupled with its contemporary aesthetics, provides a welcoming atmosphere. It hosts several luxury beauty stores and wellness centers, catering to the growing demand for premium products. MAC Cosmetics, Yves Rocher, and Paris II are a few of the beauty top brands found here. The mall’s design—like the strong, tall structure at the center of the entire building, comprised of glass, metal, and zinc— creates a strong sense of luxury, attracting affluent consumers.

The Accra mall, designed and built by Bentel Associates International, has a total retail space of 21,311 square meters (229,306 square feet). Built in 2008, the mall had a patronage of over 7 million people in 2017, with 500,000 passing through monthly. It also recorded an average of about 126,000 people weekly.

Mall of Africa, South Africa

Mall of Africa, located in Midrand, Johannesburg, is a beacon of luxury retail in South Africa. The mall’s design is inspired by the natural landscapes of Africa, featuring vast open spaces, indoor gardens, and intricate tile work. It hosts a plethora of high-end beauty and wellness brands, including top international names and exclusive boutiques like Hugo Boss, Emporio Armani, Michael Kors, and lots more. The design and layout of the mall emphasize luxury and comfort, making it a preferred destination for upscale shopping.

The Mall of Africa was designed by MDS Architecture, and has a total retail area of 130,000 square meters (1,398,800 square feet). It is the largest mall in Africa. The mall, which cost an estimated 5 billion rand ($332 million) to build, is co-owned by South African real estate capital growth fund Attacq and property developers Atterbury. During its first five days of operation, it saw a total of over 400,000 people visiting.

Each of these malls excels in selling the luxury concept through meticulous design and strategic store curation. The architectural brilliance of these structures not only attracts consumers, but also enhances their shopping experience. Elements such as high ceilings, expansive glass walls, premium materials like marble and granite, and carefully curated lighting contribute to an ambiance of luxury. Additionally, the selection of stores within these malls is tailored to meet the expectations of high-end consumers, as it features renowned international brands and exclusive local products. As Africa continues to develop, these luxury malls will undoubtedly remain at the forefront of the continent’s beauty and wellness landscape.


2 Article(s) Remaining

Subscribe today for full access