Swiftflation: How Taylor Swift’s UK tour might influence the Bank of England’s rate cut plans

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on Jun 17, 2024
Updated: Jun 18, 2024
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  • Taylor Swift's Eras Tour is boosting consumer spending, potentially affecting Bank of England's rate cut plan.
  • The tour's economic impact could lead to higher inflation.
  • Analysts estimate Swift's UK tour could add nearly £1 billion to the British economy.

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Taylor Swift’s record-shattering Eras Tour is supercharging consumer spending as it enters its U.K. leg, suggesting that the Bank of England (BoE) may face new challenges in its fight against inflation.

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As hundreds of thousands of dedicated Swifties flock to London in August to see the singing sensation during her final U.K. dates, the economic boost could be significant enough to defer a possible September interest rate cut, according to investment bank TD Securities.

Bank of England’s dilemma: To cut or not to cut?

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The BoE is expected to soon begin lowering its bank rate from a 16-year high of 5.25%, with all but two of 65 economists polled by Reuters anticipating a cut in August, while financial markets are pricing in September.

However, a potential clash between one of Swift’s August tour dates and a key inflation index day could skew the data enough to make the bank rethink its path, the analysts said.

“A surge in hotel prices then could be material, temporarily adding as much as 30bps to services inflation (+15bps on headline),” TD Securities’ macro strategist Lucas Krishan and head of global macro strategy James Rossiter wrote in a note.

Economic impact of Swift’s tour

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The economic impact of Swift’s sell-out tour has been well documented, with terms such as “Swiftflation” and “Swiftonomics” emerging to refer to the spike in spending on services such as hotels, flights, and restaurants around her performances.

Edinburgh, where Swift began her U.K. leg earlier this month, reported that the concerts and associated spending added up to an estimated £77 million ($98 million) to the local economy.

According to a Barclays bank report, the full U.K. tour could add an estimated £1 billion to the British economy.

TD Securities noted a “larger than usual” uptick in hotel prices in Edinburgh during Swift’s visit, while the upside pressure was less pronounced in Liverpool.

Swift is also set to perform in Cardiff and London, with Cardiff’s date potentially coinciding with a June inflation index day. However, the analysts believe the impact there will be minimal given the city’s smaller size.

BoE’s approach to inflation and interest rates

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The BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) looks at a wide range of economic indicators when making decisions on interest rates.

The central bank is set to meet next Thursday to deliver its latest interest rate decision and provide its outlook on the future course for inflation.

The potential impact of Swift’s tour on inflation data is an unusual but notable factor in their deliberations.

Spending habits of Swifties

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New data from Barclays reveals that consumers are predicted to spend £997 million attending Taylor Swift’s highly anticipated Eras Tour, with Swifties forking out an average of £848 per person to see their idol at one of the 15 UK tour dates.

The Swiftonomics report indicates that spending by fans attending a tour date is expected to be more than 12 times the average cost of a UK night out (£67), more than twice the amount spent attending UK-based weddings (£398), and even higher than the cost of a UK-based stag or hen do (£779).

After tickets, fans will spend the most on accommodation (£121), with other notable costs including travel (£111) and clothing for the big event (£56).

Additionally, fans are expected to spend £79 on official merchandise and £59 on a pre-concert meal, boosting sales at restaurants near the tour’s venues.

Economic boost and tourism

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Adding up the total spending for Brits on the UK leg alone — 1.2 million tickets over 15 nights and four stadiums at capacity, with merchandise, outfits, food, accommodation, travel, and more — the Eras Tour is expected to bring in almost £1 billion (£997 million) to the UK’s experience economy.

The average amount spent on an Eras Tour ticket is £206, but for 14% of fans, including those who purchased VIP ticket packages with premium seating and exclusive merchandise, the total exceeds £400.

The pre-release window for the Eras Tour last July saw a surge in consumer spending, with entertainment jumping 15.8% compared to July 2022.

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One in four (26%) fans reported having to travel to a different city to attend the Eras Tour, while one in five (19%) intend to see Swift perform in mainland Europe instead of the UK.

This may be due to ticket availability, cheaper travel and accommodation costs, or the opportunity to combine the concert with a holiday or city break.

As fans eagerly wait to attend the live show, 28% have watched or plan to watch the film of the Eras Tour, and nearly one in 10 (8%) plan to host or attend a Taylor Swift-themed party before or after her show.

Additionally, 7% have bought Taylor Swift-themed decorations for their homes.

Taylor Swift’s influence on consumer behaviour

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Swifties have been swotting up by listening to timeless classics and learning the lyrics to more recent hits. One in five (21%) have bought the album ‘Midnights,’ and one in six (15%) pre-ordered the latest album ‘Tortured Poets Department’ prior to its release.

A further one in six (14%) have started listening to Travis Kelce’s podcast ‘New Heights,’ and the same proportion (14%) have streamed American football games because Taylor was in the crowd.

Tom Corbett, Head of Group Sponsorship for Barclays, said: “Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is the UK’s wildest dreams come true – capturing the nation’s attention and bringing a substantial boost to our experience economy, with retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors all ready for it.

Fans are increasingly going all-out on experiences that resonate on a personal level, turning every concert into a potential holiday, every ticket into a cherished memory, and every event into an opportunity to splash out on new outfits, food, and merchandise.

The UK’s love story with entertainment doesn’t just involve Taylor Swift; it’s all about memorable experiences.”

Potential economic impact on the Bank of England’s decision

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The potential economic impact of Swift’s Eras Tour could influence the BoE’s upcoming rate decision.

A surge in consumer spending driven by the tour could lead to higher inflation, making it challenging for the central bank to lower interest rates as planned.

The BoE will need to carefully consider the data and weigh the short-term impact of the tour against the long-term goal of controlling inflation.

Comparing economic impacts of major events

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Swift’s Eras Tour is not the only major event boosting consumer spending in the UK. The entertainment sector saw a 7.5% increase in spending in 2023, driven by events such as the Eurovision Song Contest and Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ tour.

Spending on live shows and concerts was up 8.6% year-on-year overall.

Broader implications for the UK economy

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The broader implications of Swift’s tour on the UK economy extend beyond the immediate boost in consumer spending. The influx of tourists and increased demand for goods and services can create jobs, support local businesses, and contribute to economic growth.

However, the potential for higher inflation poses a challenge for policymakers aiming to maintain economic stability.

Future outlook for the BoE

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As the BoE navigates the complexities of inflation and interest rate decisions, it will need to monitor the impact of major events like Swift’s tour on the economy.

The central bank’s ability to adapt to changing economic conditions and respond to unexpected factors will be crucial in maintaining financial stability and supporting sustainable growth.

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is not just a musical phenomenon; it’s a significant economic event with the potential to influence the Bank of England’s decisions on interest rates.

The surge in consumer spending, driven by dedicated Swifties, highlights the broader impact of major cultural events on the economy.

As the BoE prepares for its next meeting, the economic boost from Swift’s tour will be a factor to watch, showcasing the intricate relationship between popular culture and economic policy.

GBP Inflation UK Economic