The nostalgia economy is keeping high school prom alive

If you miss out on your virtual prom, at least there’s… drive-thru graduation.


April 28, 2020

Sentimental celebs are fueling an online prom boom. With schools canceled, stars are strapping on their velvet dresses and bringing virtual dances to kids stranded at home:

In keeping with true prom spirit, these events have a few blips of excitement — but are generally disappointments.

The events biz can’t prompose a way out of this

Before the pandemic, a squadron of companies were waiting to cash in on the last-hurrah-of-HS frenzy.

High school prom is a ~$4B industry, and hairdressers, photographers, flower shops, limo services, and boutiques depend on it for revenue.

Households spend ~$919 apiece on prom, with $324 of that money going to increasingly elaborate promposals — giving a brief but concentrated boost to the skywriting industry.

The end of high school is supposed to be a cash cow 

But prom — and, soon, graduation — is not so easy to monetize remotely. While some photographers are still offering grad portraits on Zoom, most brands have shelved the spring 2020 season altogether.

And for high school seniors disappointed by the lack of prom? At least they have drive-thru graduation to look forward to.

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