Israelis are embracing the mall boom, and not just for shopping, a new study by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry shows. According to the study, 86 percent visit a mall close to their home regularly while 77% of those surveyed said they prefer the mall to shopping on the street for apparel purchases. With malls popping up all over the country, the survey placed a special focus on how Israelis choose which mall to patronize. Some 36% of Israelis base this decision on the mall's proximity to their home; 30% looked at the appeal of stores located in the facility; 24% went mostly to centers with which they were familiar; and 19% went to those with the most convenient parking. Meanwhile, although most Israelis still go to malls mainly to shop, a growing segment of those who go also will spend time there socializing, sitting in cafes and restaurants and watching movies. Though 72% aim for the stores, 50% will also stay for other things, as the new attractions in malls encourage Israelis, especially young people, to spend more time there. The study indicated that Israelis under 25 take advantage of malls the most, visiting on average eight times a month - double the rate of the rest of the population - while 87.7% of people under 25 spent more than one hour in the mall, compared to 70.5% of older adults. Mall operators hope that with consumers spending more time there, they will buy more, or at least window-shop for future purchases. There are some 70 malls in the country and 148 shopping centers, occupying 2.1 million square meters of space, placing Israel in fourth place in the world in terms of shopping space per capita, with 0.31 square meters per person, according to the Trade Ministry. Malls are accountable for 41% of the country's NIS 20 billion in annual shopping revenue.