‘Money can be earned back’: Singaporean drops over $7k on Taylor Swift’s concerts across Sydney, Paris and Singapore

Media freelancer Melissa Lee’s biggest wish is to watch American superstar Taylor Swift perform as many times as possible.

So far, she has spent more than $7,000 to attend three concerts of Swift’s The Eras Tour in Sydney, Paris and Singapore — and has no regrets doing so.

Of the sum, $3,000 was for travel costs, concert merchandise and a VIP ticket in Sydney; $4,000 was for travel costs and a VIP ticket in Paris; and $350 was for her Singapore ticket.

The 26-year-old said: “Money can be earned back, but not memories of this concert if I don’t go.

“I don’t know when Taylor Swift will go on tour again, and I was lucky to snag the tickets so I have to go.”

Thousands of Taylor Swift fans, known as Swifties, from South-east Asia will be arriving in Singapore by plane, bus and boat, as the 34-year-old singer-songwriter takes the stage on March 2.

But a number of devoted Singapore Swifties are also following the pop star for her concerts across Australia, Asia and the US.

Lee, who has been a fan since 2017, said the singer’s surprise song segment is an incentive for her to watch more concerts. During the fan-favourite segment, Swift plays two tracks that have not been played during previous shows.

However, in February, at one of her concerts in Melbourne, the singer announced she would abolish the no-repeat rule for surprise acoustic songs.
Layla Harris (left, in brown) estimates she spent $4,000 to $6,000 to attend Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour in Seattle, Melbourne and Singapore.

PHOTO: Layla Harris
Business development manager Layla Harris estimates she has spent $4,000 to $6,000, on top of her frequent flyer miles, to see the pop star perform in Seattle, Melbourne and Singapore.

The 25-year-old said her parents advised her not to overspend on Swift but understand that she is a die-hard Swiftie and pays for the trips with her savings.

Harris, who also attended Swift’s 2011, 2014 and 2015 Singapore concerts, said the singer influenced her to embrace her natural curly hair as a teen and that her lyrics resonate with her.

“I’m not a big spender generally, so I’m okay with spending on Taylor Swift’s concerts.

“She performs for three hours and puts on an amazing show every time. I could never get tired of seeing it,” she said.
Nicole Liel spent over $2,500 to go to Melbourne to catch Taylor Swift’s concert in February 2023.
PHOTO: Nicole Liel
Another dedicated fan Nicole Liel paid over $5,500 to attend four concerts — one in Australia and three in Singapore.

The 26-year-old influencer, who flew seven hours for Swift’s Melbourne show in February, paid $2,540 to be part of Swift’s biggest audience of 96,000 people. The sum included a $500 VIP ticket, $900 flight tickets, $600 on concert merchandise, $300 in friendship bracelets and $240 for her outfit and haircut. A friend offered her free accommodation.

Liel said while she recognises some may consider her spending financially irresponsible, she thoroughly enjoyed watching the star who had helped her overcome difficult times.

She said: “When I was bullied in primary school, I heard Speak Now. The song resonated with me and my life. Her music encouraged me to prove my bullies wrong.

“I grew up with Taylor Swift. The concert was well worth my money.”

Experts said emotions are important in shaping consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Dr Seshan Ramaswami, associate professor of marketing education at Singapore Management University, said spending on experiences creates more lasting happiness for consumers than spending on tangible products.

“A consumer who lavishes this much money on Swift’s concerts surely gets the feeling of connecting multiple times to a big singer. An inspiring personality can help them dream big about their own lives ahead,” he said.

He said local Swifties’ strong urge to catch the superstar as many times as possible can be due to the scarcity principle, where consumers are more inclined to purchase something in low supply and high demand.

Singapore is the only stop in South-east Asia on Swift’s The Eras Tour and the star was last here nine years ago for her 1989 Tour.

Dr Ramaswami said the ability to watch Swift multiple times in the Asia-Pacific region can be a good opportunity, but cautioned consumers against being addicted to the emotional highs they get from splurging financially.

“Consumers may need an even bigger dose [of emotional high] the next time, and that can certainly send them into a spiral of long-term splurges which can be financially ruinous.”

Aaron Chwee, head of wealth advisory at OCBC, said people can enjoy an occasional treat, but they should spend within their means.

“If these individuals are allocating more to pleasures and not their investments, retirement or contingencies, it could be a dangerous habit built up over time that has a detrimental impact on their financial future and their ability to afford other financial commitments like buying a home,” he said.

Chwee suggested that fans follow a 50-30-20 budgeting rule where 50 per cent of their income goes towards paying for daily necessities and needs, 30 per cent towards their wants and pleasures, and 20 per cent for saving up for emergencies.

He said: “If you have planned your finances well, put aside sufficient emergency funds, invested for the future, bought adequate medical insurance and have a solid budget, you can splurge on things or experiences that make you happy with the peace of mind that you are not compromising your financial goals to pamper yourself.”

“Only then, by all means — Tay Tay away.”

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