What the Heck is ‘Funflation?’

what the heck is funflation
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what the heck is funflation
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Photo Credit: Anthony Delanoix

Hyperinflation, corporate greed, and an uncertain future leave younger generations eager for experiences over ownership, driving the sale of tickets to concerts and other live events, and leading to the emergence of the latest economic buzzword — ‘funflation.’

As millennials become the largest consumer portion of the population, the future of live music continues to look bright. But with more people interested in spending money on live experiences over the ownership of luxury items, companies like Best Buy say they’ve noticed a considerable lull in their business due to this so-called “funflation.” So what exactly does that mean, anyway?

Funflation is the latest economic buzzword making the rounds, referring to a trend in which consumers are more inclined to shell out money for fun experiences over products typically purchased for home use, such as televisions and computers. This trend has seen a noticeable increase with the return of live events like concerts and festivals — and even in-theater film — following the pandemic-induced shutdown of such things just a few short years ago.

“‘Funflation,’ Taylor Swift… Those experiences are really where people are willing to pay,” says Best Buy CEO Corie Barry, speaking at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit earlier this month. “Bigger ticket items in electronics are not right now where people are interested.”

Best Buy reports that its revenue took a significant blow this year, falling by nearly $1 billion in Q2 year-over-year, with sales at stores that had been open for at least 14 months falling by 6.2% year-over-year.

Understandably, even with inflation, consumers are most interested in making up for their time lost during the COVID lockdowns — so purchases like new home entertainment systems aren’t on most people’s radar in the current climate. The average ticket to a live entertainment event has risen 14% since 2019, which Pitchfork says is a bigger increase than the cost of consumer goods under inflation.

According to a report from UTA, one in three people surveyed between the ages of 15-69 value concerts and music festivals more than they did pre-pandemic. That number increases to 44% among millennials, who are also more likely to prioritize concert and festival tickets in their disposable income budget.

Many Americans born in the 1980s and later find themselves faced with insurmountable student debt and an unapproachable housing market — so valuing a Taylor Swift concert experience over the ownership of stuff might not seem like such a terrible trade-off.