The Mastercard Economics Institute’s ‘Economic Outlook 2024’ tries to predict the significant trends that will shape the global economy.

The report uses a collection of data, including Mastercard sales info, to figure out what’s going on in the world economy.

The dawn of the 2020s was marked by unprecedented shifts in the global economy, but as we enter 2024, a new chapter unfolds.

Consumers and businesses of all sizes face pivotal decisions on spending and investing, navigating price differentials and interest rates that have woven into budgets, leaving less room for flexibility.

Balancing act: the state of the global economy

While the global economy is poised to feel more ‘normal’ in the upcoming year, it remains in search of equilibrium. The careful balancing of high-interest rates, wages, and prices compared to pre-pandemic levels is crucial.

The backdrop paints a picture of consumer empowerment, with inflation moderating and steady real economic growth. However, regional dynamics introduce variability into the equation.

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By GlobalData

Insights from Mastercard’s Economic Outlook 2024 report

The Mastercard Economics Institute has released its Economic Outlook 2024 report, an annual report based on diverse datasets, including aggregated Mastercard sales activity.

The report highlights an empowered consumer, inflation decompression, and central bank recalibration, unveiling key themes that will shape the global economy. Here are four critical findings:

Prioritising spending: ‘Needs’ and ‘Wants,’ not ‘Impulse’

Despite inflation impacting essential spending, consumers prioritise discretionary expenses.

Travel and events remain popular choices, with American spending on movies and live performances growing by 31% in 2023.

European travellers opt for budget-friendly destinations while the Middle East and North Africa are seeing a tourism boost.

Empowered consumers: the impact of employment

A resilient consumer emerges as a strong labour market supports purchasing power. Wages in the Eurozone outpace inflation, with a 4.7% year-over-year (YoY) increase in September 2023.

An easing monetary policy sustains consumer spending in interest-sensitive sectors.

Inflationary pressures easing: central banks take action

Central banks, nearing peak rates, are expected to ease next year as inflation cools. Globally, the Mastercard Economics Institute anticipates a moderation of 4.9% YoY in 2024, down from 6% in 2023.

Despite this, global economic growth is predicted to feel similar to 2023, with a 2.9% YoY increase in inflation-adjusted gross domestic product.

Changing consumer habits: e-commerce takes the lead

Untangled supply chains allow consumers to wait until the last minute for purchases, with e-commerce returns surpassing in-store returns.

Increased online returns may indicate growing customer loyalty, especially in Spain, where the e-commerce rate of returns grew by 9.8% from 2019 to 2023, compared to a 0.1% increase for brick-and-mortar stores.

Looking ahead: risks and possibilities

As we embark on 2024, various risks linger, including social tensions, geopolitical conflicts, cost-of-living instability, and currency depreciation.

The upside potential lies in the emergence of new technologies such as generative AI, triggering a productivity boom.

However, the timing and magnitude of such shifts remain uncertain. The Economics Institute advises vigilance as we navigate the economic landscape in the coming year.

See you in 2024.