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What can we expect in the year 2024? Explore the forecasts of our specialists, ranging from Trump's potential reelection to a powerful el Niño event.
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What can we expect in the year 2024? Explore the forecasts of our specialists, ranging from Trump’s potential reelection to a powerful el Niño event.

Fashion and lifestyle

by Ellie Bramley

Fashion and lifestyle have a knack for the surprise. The out-of-the-blue rise of butter moulding, say, or the sudden coolness of a shoe with a cloven toe.

Paris Olympic logo

In 2024, divergence and disparity will be prevalent. This will result in even more extreme forms of luxury in the fashion world, including both subtle displays of wealth and extravagant showcases. However, there will also be a greater focus on thrifting, recycling textiles, and creating new materials, particularly in the luxury market. Anticipate the use of seaweed yarns, sequins free of plastic, and grape leather as seen at Cop28 by designer Stella McCartney.

In 2024, T-shirts with slogans will be utilized again to make political statements and show loyalty, rather than for personal messages. We can anticipate seeing Maga caps and merchandise similar to Keir Starmer’s Sparkle With Starmer t-shirt, which was quickly created after he was glitter-bombed at the Labour conference. Additionally, we can expect to see more politicians featured in Vogue, following the example of Angela Rayner.

Pinterest is predicting that “slowcations” will become the new trend in vacations, as indicated by the increase in searches for terms like “slow life” and “digital detox challenge”. This doesn’t mean that people will be staying at home, though. In fact, it is expected that travel will exceed pre-pandemic levels this year, leading to a boom in the holidaywear market. It is impossible to accurately predict the mood for summer of 2024 at this point in time. However, it is likely that it will involve some type of athletic activity, considering that this summer Paris, known for its chic style, will be hosting the Olympics. Be prepared to see well-dressed athletes and others trying to imitate their style.

UK politics

by Andrew Rawnsley

Americans can be sure when they will be choosing their president because the election date – the Tuesday after the first Monday in November – is mandated by law. We don’t know when the UK will go to the polls because the decision lies in the hands of the prime minister.

It is possible that Rishi Sunak may avoid a 2024 election, as the latest legal date for one is January 28, 2025. If he waits until the last minute, he may appear fearful of the voters. Furthermore, campaigning during Christmas time would likely be unpopular for everyone involved.

Rishi Sunak

The leader of the Tory party is currently deciding between holding the election in spring or autumn. It is impossible to know for certain what his decision will be, as he is likely keeping his options open and trying to keep his opponents guessing. Despite rumors that he may lean towards a spring election, this should be taken with caution given the recent announcement of the budget on 6 March. This timing would allow him to request the dissolution of parliament from the king shortly after and align the general election with the local elections on 2 May.

That might appeal to the Tories if they were suddenly looking competitive, but I struggle to visualise the circumstances in which their whopping deficit in the polls will shrink enough to make that look attractive. As for any budget “giveaways” that Jeremy Hunt might conjure up, tax cuts will look extremely cynical and suspicious if they are almost instantly followed by a dash to the country.

I predict a fall competition for two primary reasons. It is more likely that the Bank of England will have initiated a decrease in interest rates by that time. For numerous voters, decreases in inflation and borrowing expenses will have a larger impact on their standard of living compared to tax cuts.

I believe there will be an autumn election because incumbents who feel threatened by the voters tend to delay the election in hopes that something will save them. This has been seen with past leaders such as Alec Douglas-Home, Jim Callaghan, John Major, and Gordon Brown. While their delay did not ultimately spare them, it did buy them some additional time in office. It is important to remember that prime ministers place great importance on their position in the longevity league table.

The environment

by Ashish Ghadiali

In 2024, there will be important elections in the US, UK, EU, and India that will be key in determining the future of climate action and its relationship with cultural conflicts. These countries are among the top producers of greenhouse gases, and their right-wing parties are seeking to gain support from the public by promising to weaken current efforts towards climate action.

An elephant lies dead in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe

In 2016, Donald Trump, during his presidency, expressed his intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement. He is now the leading candidate for the Republican nomination and has stated that he will not honor the Biden administration’s $3 billion commitment to the Green Climate Fund at Cop28. He has also promised to undo the Environment Protection Agency’s mandate for two-thirds of new cars sold in the US to be electric by 2032.

In June, the European parliament elections will give citizens in the EU the opportunity to have a say in the future of the European Green New Deal. This proposal, created by Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, aims to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and has been in development for the last four years.

Such decisive contests will take place during what many climate scientists predict will be the hottest year on record (an accolade currently held by 2023) when, according to Professor Petteri Taalas, secretary-­general of the World Meteorological Organisation, unprecedented levels of greenhouse gas, new global temperature highs, record sea level increases and Antarctic sea ice lows, amounted to a “deafening cacophony of ­broken records”.

In 2024, there will be a significant increase in temperature caused by a powerful El Niño event. This event involves warmer ocean temperatures in the Pacific, which can disrupt weather patterns on Earth and lead to more extreme events worldwide. These events may include heatwaves, wildfires, heavy rainfall, and floods. As a result, there is a higher chance of crop failures, which could jeopardize both food supplies and global commodity markets.

The environmental cost of political instability will be evident, nowhere more than in Gaza where the 25,000 tonnes of munitions dropped on the city within the first few weeks of the conflict amounted to the annual greenhouse gas emissions produced by nearly 5,000 passenger vehicles.

According to Nada Majdalani, director of EcoPeace Middle East in Ramallah, the combination of decomposing corpses and polluted water sources is a serious threat that could result in the transmission of life-threatening illnesses such as cholera. This situation is comparable to a ticking time bomb.

According to information from the Norwegian Refugee Council, the complete closure of wastewater treatment facilities in Gaza since October has resulted in over 130,000 cubic metres of untreated sewage being discharged into the Mediterranean daily.

Television

by Barbara Ellen

In 2024, there will be a focus on creating adaptations of important novels. One such adaptation is the BBC’s production of Shuggie Bain, written by Douglas Stuart, which won the 2020 Booker prize. The novel, set in the 1980s, explores themes of poverty, alcoholism, love, struggle, and sexuality.

On Netflix, One Day by David Nicholls is another key adaptation. A 14-episode series will feature Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall as the star-crossed lovers, with each episode representing one year.

Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in One Day, on Netflix.

Anna Maxwell Martin is to star in the BBC Three series of Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. Meanwhile, those who loved Anthony Minghella’s film of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley may be interested to hear that a TV series, Ripley, is imminent. Made by Netflix, it will star Andrew Scott, Johnny Flynn and Dakota Fanning.

In 2024, there appears to be a notable trend towards increased social commentary in British television dramas. Steven Knight, known for creating Peaky Blinders, is set to release a new six-part series on BBC One called This Town. The show will focus on working-class life in the 1980s, particularly the ska music scene. It features four young actors (Levi Brown, Jordan Bolger, Ben Rose, and Eve Austin) as well as Michelle Dockery, Nicholas Pinnock, and Geraldine James. On the same network, actor Michael Sheen is co-creating and directing The Way, a sociopolitical story about a fictional uprising in a small industrial town.

Joanne Froggatt will portray an NHS doctor during the pandemic in the three-part series Breathtaking on ITV1. The show is based on medic Rachel Clarke’s personal memoir and was co-written by Jed Mercurio and Prasanna Puwanarajah, both former doctors known for their work on Line of Duty and Sherwood, respectively. On BBC One, Peter Kosminsky’s factual drama Grenfell will depict the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster, drawing from extensive research. Riz Ahmed’s Englistan on BBC Two will explore political, religious, and cultural issues through the experiences of three generations of an English-Pakistani family over four decades in Britain.

In terms of up-and-coming performers to keep an eye on in 2024, emerging Irish thespian Katherine Devlin has gained attention for her role in the BBC One series Blue Lights, set in Northern Ireland. As the show prepares for another season, Devlin is set to share the screen with Eddie Redmayne in the upcoming television adaptation of The Day of the Jackal. The project is being produced by Ronan Bennett, known for his work on Top Boy.

are all forms of performance

Performance can take many forms, including theatre, dance, and visual arts.

by Vanessa Thorpe

The West End will continue to celebrate the New Year with dazzling fireworks, as a series of spectacular performances are set to take place in early 2024. In February, Sarah Snook from Succession will present her solo adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray to audiences at the Royal Theatre Haymarket. Before that, Sarah Jessica Parker, known as the queen of high heels in Manhattan, will grace the stage at the Savoy Theatre with her husband Matthew Broderick, who recently starred in Netflix’s pharmaceutical drama Pain. They will revive Neil Simon’s 1968 comedy Plaza Suite.

More powerful wattage still may come in February from homegrown star Matt Smith, who returns to the West End stage after 15 years to take the lead role of Dr Stockmann in Henrik Ibsen’s time-tested classic, An Enemy of the People. It’s a play that repeatedly picks up fresh political resonance, as well as purportedly inspiring Peter Benchley to write Jaws. It’s the English-language premiere of German director Thomas Ostermeier’s acclaimed “townhall debate” production, in which the audience is invited to tackle the ethics of the plot.

Georges Seurat’s Bathers at Asnières, 1884

In March, a well-loved TV personality, Sheridan Smith, will make her debut at the Gielgud Theatre in a new musical written by Rufus Wainwright. The show is based on the 1977 film “Opening Night” by John Cassavetes and is directed by Ivo van Hove. Wainwright has expressed his excitement for his first musical project, saying “I have been eagerly anticipating this opportunity for a long time… I couldn’t have aimed any higher.”

The performance, resembling a display of numerous silk carnations scattered throughout the stage at Sadler’s Wells, will attract ballet enthusiasts to the long-awaited return of Pina Bausch’s Nelken (Carnations) production, last seen in 2005. Premiering on Valentine’s Day, it will showcase the iconic “Nelken line” dance sequence, representing the changing seasons. The current group of 20 dancers from Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal will once again jump, kiss, and crush the flowers as part of the routine.

During the summer, Bradford will be in the spotlight as it prepares for its designation as the UK City of Culture in 2025. The unveiling of the Bradford Live venue will take place around the same time as the National Science & Media Museum reopens after undergoing £6 million worth of renovations. The city’s literature festival will kick off the season with its 10th anniversary celebration at the end of June.

For those who still love the color Barbie pink, the Design Museum in London is celebrating the doll’s 65th birthday with a special exhibit starting in July. More traditional museum exhibitions will also be open to the public in May, such as the National Gallery’s celebration of its 200th year. The gallery has partnered with 12 other locations, including museums in Liverpool, Newcastle, Cambridge, and Brighton, to showcase significant pieces at no cost.

In January, some details about the upcoming Matthew Vaughn film, Argylle, are revealed. The book that the movie is said to be adapted from, written by a character known as “Elly Conway” from the TV show Neighbours, will be published on January 9th. The highly anticipated film, with a star-studded cast including Henry Cavill and Dua Lipa, will hit theaters in February.

Technology

by John Naughton

In 2023, ChatGPT dominated the year, but in 2024, the world will recover from the impact of generative AI and evaluate its potential. Currently, according to the Gartner Hype Cycle, AI is at the peak of unrealistic expectations and is expected to decline into the “Trough of Disillusionment” within five to 10 years before becoming productive. This means that the next decade will involve a period of testing and deployment. According to Steven Levy, editor at large for Wired, our future will see a tension between AI as a collaborator and humans as a companion. While the latter may be more cost-effective in terms of labor economics, it also has its challenges.

Tesla electric cars on charge.

The sales of electric cars are expected to rise, surpassing the capabilities of countries’ charging systems. As a result, Europe will become stuck in an unfavorable cycle as an influx of Chinese-made electric cars flood the market. This is due to European governments providing subsidies for EV purchases, while China provides subsidies for their production. As demand for these cars in China declines, they are being dumped onto the European market. This situation is unlikely to have a positive outcome.

Twitter/X will continue its self-imposed decline as its owner thrashes around trying to staunch the bleeding. No matter how decrepit the network becomes, though people will use it because of the absence of an alternative that isn’t owned by Mark Zuckerberg.

The EU’s Digital Services Act, Digital Markets Act, and upcoming AI Act make it the top regulator in the tech industry. Evidence of its impact is emerging, such as Meta (Facebook’s parent company) offering ad-free subscriptions to customers in Europe. Google’s competition issues in the US will persist. Self-driving cars, along with artificial general intelligence and nuclear fusion, are still expected to be developed in the distant future.

Foreign affairs

by Simon Tisdall

The upcoming US presidential election in November will be a major focus for both American citizens and the international community. Despite being 81 years old and having low approval ratings, Joe Biden plans to run for a second term, despite opposition from members of his own party. The Democrats are concerned about the possibility of Biden becoming ill or facing a damaging scandal too late to find a replacement. Many doubt that vice-president Kamala Harris could effectively take over. On the other hand, Donald Trump, who will also be 78 in November, is expected to secure the Republican nomination. However, his national approval rating is similarly low to Biden’s, at around -15%. It’s also a possibility that Trump could be facing legal consequences by the time of the election. Based on current trends, it is predicted that Biden will win the popular vote, but Trump will secure the electoral college and therefore, a second term as president.

Donald Trump

President Xi Jinping is currently the most influential leader in China since Mao Zedong. However, this also means that he cannot escape responsibility when things go wrong. And unfortunately, things are not going well. The economy is facing challenges, there is a rise in youth unemployment, and there are concerns about debt, investments, and the aging population. Xi’s aggressive policies, unfair trade practices, lack of respect for international laws, and human rights violations have caused tension with neighboring countries and sparked opposition from the West. There are worries that Xi may use attacks against Taiwan as a distraction from domestic issues, and the recent purges of high-ranking officials have only added to the sense of instability. It is predicted that there may be an internal revolt within the Communist party that could result in Xi losing some or all of his powers.

In a time when democracy is facing widespread attacks, 2024 will surprisingly witness a high number of elections, potentially exceeding 50 countries depending on specific dates and definitions. Unfortunately, many of these elections will lack true competition and the outcomes can be easily foreseen. For instance, Vladimir Putin is expected to secure another term as Russia’s president in March without much challenge. Similarly, in countries like India, Iran, Belarus, and Venezuela, the odds are heavily in favor of the current leaders and their opponents have little chance of success. However, genuinely fair elections are anticipated in the UK, Taiwan, various countries within the EU (including for the European parliament in June), and the US. The upcoming elections in Ukraine during a time of war will be a significant test for their democratic system. It is predicted that this global election wave will result in further gains for authoritarian and populist-nationalist leaders on the far right.

Finance

by Rupert Jones

The issue of rising living expenses will remain a prevalent topic in the media. However, experts will be monitoring whether the indications of relief translate into concrete improvements.

At a time when many individuals may be experiencing financial vulnerability due to holiday expenses, households can expect a standard 5% rise in energy costs at the start of the new year. This increase is due to Ofgem, the regulator, setting the energy price cap at £1,928 per year for a typical household that uses both gas and electricity and pays through direct debit.

Taylor Swift

The cap will be in effect from January 1st to March 31st, but according to energy consultancy Cornwall Insight, it is expected to decrease to £1,816 on April 1st and then to £1,793 starting in July.

There is a possibility of increased food costs due to new border checks on food and fresh produce from the EU, starting on January 31st. This could lead to higher expenses for imported ingredients and potentially contribute to inflation, according to organizations like the British Sandwich & Food to Go Association.

In April, an increase in free childcare programs may help ease the financial burden on families. During this month, working parents with two-year-old children who qualify will receive 15 hours of government-funded childcare per week for 38 weeks out of the year. This is the initial stage of a gradual expansion.

The obsession with national house prices and mortgages is expected to persist. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, there may be a 4.7% decrease in house prices in 2024, which may benefit first-time buyers but not necessarily homeowners. However, the housing market has a history of defying predicted declines or crashes. With reports from Halifax and Nationwide showing an increase in house prices in October and November, it is unlikely that the market will end the year with negative growth.

The price of newly offered fixed-rate home loans has decreased recently, and Nicholas Mendes from mortgage broker John Charcol anticipates that there will be more reductions in 2024. “Five-year fixed rates will likely be the initial ones to reach a rate below 4%, followed by two- and three-year fixed rates dropping below the benchmark of 4.5%,” he stated.

In the upcoming months, experts will be anticipating to see if Taylor Swift’s presence can positively impact the UK economy during her tour in June. A research company, QuestionPro, predicted that her Eras Tour could potentially bring in $5 billion for the US economy, surpassing the GDP of 50 nations. This phenomenon, known as “The Taylor Swift economy,” has been validated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, who reported that her three concerts in May had significantly increased tourism profits.

Swift is scheduled to perform 15 concerts in Great Britain, with an expected audience of nearly 1.2 million. These shows are expected to stimulate spending on merchandise, food and beverages, travel, accommodations, and new clothing. According to Lighthouse, a specialist in data for the travel and hospitality industry, there are strong indications that Swift’s performances will have a positive impact on the cities she visits.

Sport

by Sean Ingle

Two major sporting events, the Olympic Games and the men’s football European Championships, will reign supreme. British athletes and football players will be the main focus in both.

Over 500,000 individuals are expected to be present at the Paris Games’ opening ceremony on July 26th. The event will feature a procession of 160 boats, transporting athletes along a stretch of the Seine spanning almost four miles. Anticipate a grand display of theater, dance, and circus acts before the Games are officially launched at the Trocadéro.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

This will establish the foundation for the remainder of the Olympics, which the organizers aim to be a remarkable restart following the scandals and disruptions from the previous Rio and Tokyo Games.

Instead of constructing new facilities, well-known locations in Paris will be the main focus. Skateboarding, breaking, and 3×3 basketball competitions will take place at Place de la Concorde, while equestrian events will be held at the Palace of Versailles. Beach volleyball matches will be held in front of the Eiffel Tower.

This upcoming Olympics will be the inaugural event for the Insta generation, and it is anticipated that Team GB will once again rank highly on the medal leaderboard. Familiar faces like Adam Peaty, Tom Daley, and Katarina Johnson-Thompson are expected to compete, along with rising stars like super-heavyweight boxer Delicious Orie and 21-year-old cyclist Emma Finucane.

Prior to the Olympics, the men’s football team from England will aim to replicate the success of the women’s team in 2022 by winning the Euro 2024. A favorable draw has provided Gareth Southgate’s team with a good chance – they are considered joint favorites with France by bookmakers. However, Scotland has also qualified and Wales is hoping for a play-off victory to secure their spot. If England performs well, it would not be surprising to see 20-year-old Real Madrid midfielder Jude Bellingham win the 2024 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

In 2023, women’s sports saw a significant increase in viewership for football, basketball, golf, tennis, and cricket. IMG, a global sports and culture company, predicts that this trend will translate into financial success in 2024. Their recent report reveals that data suggests fans of women’s sports are more likely to support brands that invest in it. For example, Michelob Ultra, a women’s sports sponsor, found that fans of women’s sports are 30% more likely to engage with their brand compared to fans of men’s sports.

The report also forecasts an increase in the popularity of mega influencers, particularly following Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to the Saudi Pro League and Lionel Messi’s transfer to Major League Soccer.

Food

by Tony Naylor

The restaurant industry continues to experience fluctuations. Expenses are expensive, and there is a shortage of staff. In the past year, there have been extended periods of reduced spending. However, the hospitality sector will evolve and persevere, with many establishments thriving. It has proven to be resilient, with the concept of escapism being highly desired in 2024.

Bubble tea

The recently opened Pizza Pilgrims location in Leeds boasts a unique feature – a pink flamingo pedalo that serves soft-serve ice cream. Customers can sit in the pedalo and use pedal power to operate an old gramophone. This is the current atmosphere of the restaurant, saying farewell to traditional elements such as leather aprons, handmade pottery, and minimalist design. Instead, they are embracing eye-catching interiors, live music, DJs, theatrical tableside service, and open kitchen displays as well as collaborations with other businesses – all in an effort to stand out from their competitors.

Large food market debuts, like the upcoming Boxpark Liverpool, will persist due to the desire for diverse entertainment and options, as conventional meal schedules and styles evolve. Additionally, wine bars featuring gourmet small bites will become more prevalent.

Assuming you are still consuming beverages, a recent survey by Olive magazine discovered that a higher number of individuals aged 16 to 26 consume bubble tea on a weekly basis compared to alcohol. There is expected to be an increase in non-alcoholic choices, as well as more innovative options for cocktails with lower alcohol content. Additionally, there has been a change in alcohol taxes, resulting in the availability of beers with an ABV of under 3.5%. For example, Carlsberg has already adjusted its signature pilsner to have a 3.4% ABV for consumers in the UK.

Looking for a bolder option? Orange wine, whiskey, and spicy chili-infused cocktails are gaining popularity. Despite the belief that the trend has reached its peak, sales of hot sauce are still on the rise, with a 94% increase last year at specialized retailer Hop, Burns & Black.

With excitement around veganism cooling, flexitarianism is back on the agenda. Though focusing on veg-led dishes is a win-win for restaurants in managing ingredient costs, menu prices and on sustainability. In fish, predicts Jack Stein, chef-director at Rick Stein’s restaurants, there’ll be growing interest in the cheaper pouting, dab and whiting.

In terms of cuisine, Waitrose suggests that Nepalese and Pakistani dishes will gain more popularity in Britain. The supermarket is also promoting Korean doenjang paste as a replacement for miso, as there is a growing interest in East Asian cuisine among food enthusiasts. Japanese food, especially, will serve as a major source of inspiration, from the traditional omakase dining experience (where the chef chooses the menu) to the 2024 trend of senbei rice crackers, as predicted by specialist retailer, Sous Chef.

Pinterest recently released data showing a rise in searches for “melty mashups”, which are tasty combinations of comfort foods such as pizza-inspired pies, smashed burger tacos, and ramen noodle carbonara. However, they also found a decrease in interest for jelly sweet kebabs.

How that fits with our burgeoning interest in gut health, who knows? But as we toast 2024 – perhaps, with Joia restaurant’s squid ink-blackened cocktail – it is guaranteed to be interesting.

Source: theguardian.com