‘Bills, Bills, Bills’: Beyonce Tour May Have Boosted Swedish Inflation

An economist suggests the “Bey Hive” of fans who swarmed Stockholm to kick off the “Renaissance” tour helped push up prices of hotels, recreation

Beyoncé Renaissance
Beyoncé Renaissance (Sony)

All those “Single Ladies” who flocked to Stockholm, Sweden for the kickoff of Beyonce’s Renaissance World Tour may have had an unexpected effect on the nation’s economy by helping to drive up inflation there.

Fans thronged the city for Queen Bey’s first solo tour in more than seven years after a viral TikTok revealed that floor seats were going for less than $200 in Stockholm, as opposed to $2,000 for performances in the U.S. A Vulture review of the first two nights of the tour noted that even customs agents at the airport commented on the number of people arriving for the show.

More than 46,000 fans ultimately packed Stockholm’s Friends Arena on both May 10 and 11. Visit Stockholm described the boom in tourism during the concerts as the “Beyoncé effect” to The Washington Post.

The “Black Parade” then moved on to Belgium, Wales, Scotland and beyond, the start of a 40-stop tour that ends in September in New Orleans.

Then inflation data for May was released in Sweden.

The country, like much of Europe and the U.S., has been fighting rising prices over the past year. So the higher-than-expected inflation rate of 9.7% got a lot of attention in the country of 10.4 million people. The financial markets had predicted a rate of 9.4%.

Then one economist offered a novel theory for the high numbers – the artificial demand created by the Diva’s fans helped push costs higher.

“Beyonce’s start of her world tour in Sweden seems to have colored May inflation,” Michael Grahn, a chief economist for Danske Bank, posted on Twitter. “How much is uncertain,” he continued, but estimated that 0.2 percentage points of the 0.3 points that rising hotel and restaurant prices added to the overall number likely came from the strong demand generated by the Bey Hive. “Perhaps also hiked concert ticket prices (recreation).”

Grahn got some pushback from readers who suggested that a surge of visitors in May to start the spring and summer travel season is normal.

But he stuck by his observation, telling the New York Times that “her performance and global demand to see her perform in Sweden apparently added a little” to the monthly inflation numbers.

Among the factors that played into the situation were the weakness of the Swedish currency, the krona in comparison to the U.S. dollar, which made ticket prices lower. But the big impact came from the fact that all those fans needed a place to stay. Some fans had to book rooms as far as 40 miles away because demand was so high.

While Grahn said the inflationary effect is “very rare,” he noted that Sweden had seen this happen before, from a 2017 soccer cup final, when foreign teams played in the country.

“So it is not unheard-of, albeit unusual,” he told the Times.

The real tell will come when the next month’s data comes out.

“We expect this upside surprise to be reversed in June,” Grahn tweeted, “as prices on hotels and tickets reverse back to normal.”