The Signal, January 2024: New Year predictions, Christmas frugality and bleak employment indicators

Ellen Johnson, Content Publisher (London)

Neudata Signal
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This month’s alternative data insights include vendors’ predictions for 2024, consumer Christmas trends and signs of a challenging job market.

2024 predictions

A host of data providers kicked off 2024 with predictions for what the new year will bring. OAG forecast, among other things, an increase in flight disruptions globally due to infrastructure and manufacturing hurdles. Published on 27th December, it didn’t take long for this prediction to prove true – on 5th January a door plug blew out of an Alaska Airlines flight, prompting the FAA to ground all Boeing 737 Max 9s with a similar configuration. Meanwhile, Euromonitor predicts continuing macro challenges in 2024, citing lowered expectations for economic growth and continued geopolitical struggles. Finally, took a deep dive into consumer trends to watch in 2024, predicting that health food and affordable luxuries will likely be at the forefront of spending. Consumers will continue to avoid large purchases, but they’re expected to find other ways to spend their money and do something special. These include things like going out for coffee or focusing on better nutrition.

Read more on OAG, Euromonitor and >

Christmas consumer spending: continuing frugality

In the New Year, in addition to looking toward the future, many vendors released new research related to Christmas consumer spending. As echoed by last month’s reporting on Black Friday, consumers continued to spend, but in a frugal way. For example, Earnest’s report on Christmas consumer patterns saw spending up from last year, but this was mostly driven by budget options such as Shein, while luxury stores like Neiman Marcus suffered. Similarly, in the UK, Kantar reported strong growth for budget supermarkets Lidl and Aldi, with discounted items proving especially popular. offered a more granular view of holiday shopping, focusing on smaller themes, such as Christmas-related events driving spending in local US restaurants and stores. It also found that most shoppers in major city shopping areas around Christmas were young, wealthy and often single locals – in other words, those most likely to have extra income.

Read more on Earnest, Kantar and >

A declining job market?

Finally, a handful of vendors reported disappointing employment indicators at the start of the year. CME Group noted several red flags in newly released US employment data. Some of the most concerning metrics showed higher job losses and more people leaving the workforce, while the ISM Services Index collapsed, indicating a sharp shift towards cutting workers rather than hiring. Similarly, LinkUp’s data revealed a significant decrease in open jobs in December, with all industries experiencing fewer openings. For those employers that are hiring, Revelio Labs reports an increase in dissatisfied applicants, citing significantly drawn-out and complicated interview processes. Employment metrics will likely be an important theme in 2024 as AI and adverse economic conditions challenge long-standing trends.

Read more on CME Group, LinkUp and Revelio Labs >