Economic boost from Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras’ tour could be overstated, Nomura warns

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Taylor Swift performs onstage at Lumen Field in Seattle on July 22, 2023.

Mat Hayward/tas23 | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

The devil’s in the details, but local economies have a friend in Taylor Swift.

The American pop star has spent nearly a year crossing the U.S. and globe with her high-flying “Eras” tour. And the economic impact of the “Karma” singer’s show has caught the attention of everyone from the Federal Reserve to Wall Street.

Her tour undoubtedly helped the local economies she visited, according to a new report out from Japanese investment bank Nomura. But the firm questions how much of an imprint it made on national data.

“Her boost to consumption has certainly enchanted US economic analysts, but we believe the total macroeconomic effect is probably overstated,” Nomura global economist Si Ying Toh wrote to clients last week.

Between the first and third quarter of 2023, Swift’s venture alone lifted nominal U.S. retail sales by 0.03% and real gross domestic product, a measure of economic output, by 0.02%, Nomura estimates show.

For all of 2023, the 14-time Grammy winner’s tour accounted for 0.5% of nominal consumption growth, according the firm’s calculations.

Though those data points can be considered marginal, Toh said the economic boost — which some have dubbed the “Swift-lift” — is “undeniable” for the 20 cities U.S. she visited.

“Eras” tour stops saw a bump of 2.1 percentage points to lodging inflation during the month of Swift’s visit, according to STR data cited by Toh. Data from hotel booking platform Trivago shows a similar rise, she added.

Looking at Chicago specifically, Toh estimated that lodging prices rose 3.1 percentage points due to Swift’s three shows there. The city, which is the third most populated in the U.S., saw a bump of 8.1 percentage points in occupancy and 59% increase in hotel revenue per available room during Swift’s stint.

From that, the consumer price index for the Illinois city increased by 0.5 percentage points from the singer’s visit alone. (CPI measures of a basket of goods and services used to calculate changes in costs over time.)

It’s less likely for these local improvements to materialize in national-level statistics from larger economies like the U.S., U.K. or Japan, Toh said. Still, these events are worth watching as potential economic catalysts in countries around the globe, she said.

Internationally, small economies such as Singapore and Sweden could see the biggest macro boosts from her tour, according to Toh.

“Exogenous shocks play a key role in economic modeling, whether in the form of an extreme weather event, a pandemic or … a pop concert,” Toh wrote to clients. “In recent years, concert tours have grown to become not just major social phenomena but also potentially a significant driver of economic activity.”

Swift’s tour is set to conclude near the end of 2024. The film version, which already captured more than $200 million globally through a movie theater run, begins streaming on Disney+ March 15.

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