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Swiftonomics: Assessing Taylor’s impact on spending

02:00pm March 04 2024

Taylor Swift plays to a sell-out audience at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Feb. 2024. (Getty)

While the economic boost from Taylor Swift’s Eras tour has been widely touted, its impact on card spending during her time in Australia was surprisingly small.

Over 600,000 Swifties attended the global megastar’s seven concerts, which were spread over two weeks and split between Melbourne and Sydney. 

The event produced some eye-catching stats, including a record number of Uber pickups from Melbourne airport and eBay sales of friendship bracelets rocketing by 15,200 per cent. 

But its impact on card spending looks to have been more muted, according to the latest Westpac Card Tracker Index.

There was a boost in the days prior to the Melbourne concerts of around 8 per cent, but some of this would have been related to Valentine’s Day rather than the Eras tour. 

In Sydney, there looks to have been little discernible effect. 

Four things are worth bearing in mind here: 

1). Much of the associated spend, for example on tickets, flights and accommodation packages, would have happened well in advance.

2). The card data does not capture spending by international visitors.

3). Spending related to the concerts would have been partially offset by reduced spending elsewhere, specifically what those attending might have been doing instead. 

4) Other factors may have produced significant offsets. Poor weather in Sydney in particular may have impacted other activity.

Overall card spending activity was slightly softer in the second half of February compared to the first half, although at 127.8 the Index reading is still tracking above the 120-125 average range over the November to January period. 

To read Matt’s full report on the latest Card Tracker Index, visit WestpacIQ

Matthew is a senior economist with Westpac. His specific areas of expertise are housing markets and the Australian consumer sector. Matthew’s research has been instrumental in shaping Westpac’s views on the Australian economy, including recent calls on official interest rates. His research has provided important insights into housing market developments and the behaviours of the Australian consumer. He is the author of Westpac’s monthly Red Book report, regards as essential reading on the consumer sector. Before joining the Westpac team in 2007, Matthew held senior positions with leading economic consultancies in Australia and New Zealand.

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