2022 has arguably been a tough year for businesses and families, with a sky-high inflation in most countries adding to the woes of a world still reeling from the Coronavirus economic meltdown.
Research and consulting firm, Ipsos gives insights on the trends likely to shape 2023, based on a survey done between October and last month.
Ipsos interviewed 24, 471 people who were aged between 16 to 74 years and spread across 36 countries including South Africa, US, Singapore and Israel.
Sky-high inflation and high fuel prices
Hope springs eternal. Even with all of the negativity and uncertainty surrounding the future, two in three (65 percent) still expect a better year in 2023 than they experienced in 2022, ranging from 36 percent of Japanese to 85 percent of Brazilians. China’s optimism has dropped from 94 percent in 2022 to 83 percent in 2023.
Optimism for the coming year has fallen significantly (by over 10 percentage points) in 24 of the 32 countries covered this year and last, with particularly large declines in Sweden (-26 points), Italy, Denmark, and South Korea (all down 19 points), and Japan (-18 points).
In only one market has optimism gone up – Brazil – and even there it has only gone up marginally (from 82 percent to 85 percent).
As in most years, three in four (74 percent) say they will make some personal resolutions to do some specific things for themselves or others in 2023.
As many as 91 percent in Peru, 90 percent in Colombia and Mexico, and 89 percent in China say so. The Netherlands (45 percent) Japan (41 percent) and Sweden (35 percent) are the only countries where a minority will be making resolutions for the New Year.
Global recession in 2023
Overall, there is much more pessimism about the global economy than we saw this time last year. Only 46 percent on average believe that the global economy will be stronger next year, compared to 61 percent who did so last year and 54 percent in 2020.
People in Belgium are the most pessimistic about the economy with as few as 27 percent expecting to see improvements, while those in China and the UAE where 78 percent and 76 percent respectively anticipate better times, are the most optimistic.
The reasons for this pessimism are clear. Large majorities expect the cost of living (79 percent) expect prices to rise, 75 percent expect to see higher inflation rates), levels of unemployment (68 percent), and interest rates (74 percent) to increase.
Even more worryingly, nearly half (46 percent) think it likely that their country will need to be bailed out with emergency funding from the International Monetary Fund, with those in South Africa (78 percent) and Argentina (70 percent) being particularly worried about this possibility.
Around half (50 percent) think it is likely that major stock markets around the world will crash, a significant increase from 2022 where 35 percent thought they were likely to crash. This year 15 percent of people think this is very likely to happen.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
World security has been very much on everyone’s minds in 2022 with active conflict zones in several parts of the world and international tensions rising in others.
The possible escalation of such conflicts has increased concern that nuclear weapons will be used somewhere in the world. Nearly half (48 percent) now feel this is a likely scenario rather than a mere possibility, up markedly from the 34 percent we saw this time last year. This anxiety is particularly high in Indonesia (69 percent) as well as Peru and Colombia (both 62 percent).
The role of technology in potential disruption is also recognised. More than four in 10 (44 percent, up from 38 percent last year) say it is likely hackers from a foreign government will cause a global IT shutdown.
Nearly half feel that a rogue artificial intelligence program that can’t be shut down will cause significant havoc in their country though, encouragingly, this proportion has fallen markedly since last year (down 15 percentage points).
The general mood of anxiety has even had knock-on effects on concerns about catastrophic stellar events.
Now, 22 percent think an asteroid strike on earth is likely in 2023 (up from 16 percent last year and 15 percent the previous year) while 18 percent expect aliens to visit the earth (up from 14 percent last year), but as ever, Indians are most likely to expect visitors from outer space (43 percent there feel this is likely to happen next year).
Six in ten (60 percent) anticipate no further Covid-19 lockdowns in their country next year as people get back to some form of normality. In China and South Korea, around half of the surveyed people (43 percent and 44 percent respectively) think it is likely that this will be the case.
Whereas in Indonesia, the vast majority (82 percent) are very confident that they will not experience further lockdowns in 2023.It is not yet clear to what degree the changes to working patterns that were enforced by Covid will persist and continue to evolve – only around one in three (37 percent) believe that it will become normal for businesses in their country to implement a four-day working week during 2023.
The proportion thinking that many more people will live their lives in virtual worlds is virtually unchanged from last year at 56 percent.Globally, around one in three (34 percent up from 28 percent last year) say is likely that people in their country will become more tolerant of each other but there are massive differences from one country to another.
In India, this continues to rise (65 percent now, up from 60 percent last year), and, whilst it is still low, in France the percentage has almost doubled from last year from 9 percent in 2022 to 17 percent in 2023.
Some expect to see space feature heavily in 2023: Around half (47 percent) expect that a rocket will be launched en route to Mars during the coming year, while 39 percent think it likely that there will be a space tourism service launched that will offer people trips to land on the moon.
Fewer – 27 percent – think it likely that an implant will be successfully implanted in a human brain to restore lost memories.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION