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#ConsumerCorner: The 'Taylor Swift effect' – how music’s anti-hero gave the economy a shake up

American Football
By Abbey Crawford
06 February 2024
Consumer Industries
Fashion & Retail

In a world where sports, marketing, and economics intersect, there exists a phenomenon known as the 'Taylor Swift effect'. Throughout her career, particularly in the past year, Swift’s appeal has gone beyond music, influencing travel, hospitality, marketing and even sports. Her influence extends far and wide, leaving few sectors untouched. 

Her most recent association with the NFL, particularly her relationship with Kansas City Chiefs star, Travis Kelce, has sparked widespread interest, impacting everything from viewership metrics to consumer habits. Across her entire career, and particularly during this period, Swift has emerged as a catalyst for change, reshaping industries and empowering individuals (especially women) - but now, ‘Swifties’ are seriously impacting the consumer economy.  

Swift's power has caused a recent surge in female NFL viewership. Since her affiliation with the league, there has been a significant increase in regular season viewership among women, reaching unprecedented levels not seen since the league began tracking in 2000. According to research conducted by the Apex Marketing Group, the ‘Swift effect’ has contributed an estimated $330 million in brand value to both the Chiefs and the NFL as a whole. Furthermore, Taylor Swift's active presence on various social media platforms has spurred a surge in interest, evident in the increased sales of Chiefs merchandise and StubHub ticket purchases for Chiefs home games. 

Although women have long held an interest in football, the NFL has typically disregarded their potential as consumers in its marketing efforts, with their engagement often occurring despite the league's oversight rather than because of it. This failure to integrate women's perspectives and preferences into product design and marketing strategies represents a missed opportunity not only for the NFL, but also for a diverse range of industries spanning sports apparel to financial services. However, the recent infusion of hyper-femininity into the traditionally masculine realm of the NFL has enabled the league to forge stronger connections with female fans, sparking discussions about incorporating more female-centric marketing strategies. 

With women influencing or controlling 85% of consumer spending, businesses are starting to recognise the importance of speaking to women in their language —characterised by authenticity and empowerment. From sports to financial services, industries are awakening to the potential of catering to women's preferences and perspectives, tapping into a demographic that has long-been underestimated and should be at the forefront of marketer’s considerations.  

In a world where economic success hinges on understanding and catering to consumer demographics, the influence of female spending power cannot be overstated. Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and even cultural icons like Barbie have illuminated the immense financial gain that comes from properly targeting the female consumer market and while the female consumer is often underestimated, companies need to get on board, or they will be left behind.  

The impact of the ‘Swift effect’ extends far beyond the realm of sports, resonating across various sectors such as travel, tourism, and retail. Economists forecast that Swift's concert tours yield a global economic impact ranging from $13 to $28 billion, with cities hosting her performances witnessing a notable increase in hotel bookings and tourism. This underscores the significant economic influence wielded by her fan base. 

In essence, the rise of female spending power represents a crucial turning point for businesses and marketers. By embracing authenticity, empowerment, and inclusivity, brands can harness the vast potential of the female consumer market, catalysing both economic advancement and societal transformation. It's imperative for brands to acknowledge the significance of communicating effectively with women, tapping into their purchasing influence, and moulding consumer behaviour accordingly.