The woman’s dollar is a powerful force in the US economy although it often gets overlooked. However, something about this summer – call it a Barbie film or a Beyoncé tour – made it difficult for the media to ignore female spending power. 

For example, local economies have reaped the ancillary benefits of the Taylor Swift Eras Tour which is likely to become the world’s first to bring in $1 billion over more than 100 shows, as noted by the Federal Reserve in July’s Beige Book, which touted Swift’s tour for boosting the Philadelphia area’s hotel industry.

This year’s female-driven multi-million dollar media showcases art made by women that speaks to the experience of being female. The megastars on stage and screen seem otherworldly, but share stories that are familiar. A brand or art needs to spark a cultural conversation to be a runaway hit. When a project catches on, it is essential to find ways to attract groups and encourage a sense of community for those that participate. 

One example of a noteworthy statistic is that movie site Fandango said some 65% of “Barbie” ticket buyers have been women, compared with 50% of all ticket buyers so far this year. 

More than 80% of people who bought tickets to see Swift and Beyoncé purchased more than two tickets to the “Eras” and “Renaissance” tours, according to ticket reseller Vivid Seats. Purchases of three or more adult tickets represented 27% of “Barbie” movie ticket orders, according to sales site Fandango, compared with 20% of all movie ticket orders through the service this year. 

The power of female group spending has also been underestimated in the economy for years. Where men are recognised for attending Marvel movies and sports events together wearing matching jerseys or costumes, this summer, it was women who gathered the biggest groups of movie and concertgoers and opened their wallets repeatedly on those experiences to an unusual degree.

Ticket sales for women headliners in the top 25 tours are up over 400% from last year, said Lesley Olenik, global tour promoter at Live Nation. Sales of tickets for Beyoncé and Swift’s tours represent 66% of all the sales for the top 10 artists on tour around the world, according to secondary market ticket seller StubHub. These groups of women are spending more on tickets to these artists and other female acts, too. Among the top 50 acts globally, the average ticket price for female artists is $660, compared with $245 for male artists, said StubHub. This is remarkable to note when we consider that over 90% of festival headliners are still male. 

Furthermore, at craft retail chain Michaels Stores, demand among Swift fans for beads has exceeded the additional inventory the company forecast and ordered in anticipation of her shows, particularly in alphabet beads that fans use to spell out lyrics or other Swift sayings, a spokeswoman said. In cities the “Eras Tour” has visited, there has been a 300% sales lift in beads and jewellery in the days ahead of a concert, and a more than 500% increase in its jewellery category sales in Swift’s home state of Pennsylvania.

Dedication amongst female audiences should also not be ignored. Women are travelling ever-longer distances to be part of a community of fans, setting this summer’s live events apart from past tours of the same artists. The average distance travelled for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” is more than 300 miles, more than double what it was for her 2018 “Reputation Tour,” according to Vivid Seats. Beyoncé fans travelled 46% further to see the “Renaissance World Tour” than they did for “The Formation World Tour” in 2016.

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