Market volatility, economic uncertainty, downturn—these are just a few ways to describe how business, supply chains, and consumer behavior are rapidly acclimating to the unpredictable months ahead.
As generative AI (genAI) is simultaneously revolutionizing every industry and changing how business is conducted today, the landscape has become even more complicated to navigate for leaders and research professionals. Our 2023 State of Generative AI & Market Intelligence report found that 65% of professionals currently use AI in their research, and a whopping 80% expect to increase their reliance on this tech in the next 12 months.
And if 2023 has shown us anything, it is that opportunities are often short-lived. Volatility, unpredictability, and technological transformation have made it even more challenging for business professionals to make decisions. If a company doesn’t move fast enough or finds the information a day too late, the chance to make an informed decision could be forever lost.
Further, traditional market intelligence is filled with friction and inefficiency, typically conducted in highly reactive ways. Companies need a way to stay smarter, more agile, and continuously informed about their industries and the business world at large.
With the power of our award-winning research platform, we’ve combed through thousands of corporate call transcripts, interviews from our expert call library, research documents, and more (all found within our vast content universe) to identify the top 10 key market-moving trends to keep an eye on for 2024:
Cashing Out Interest Income
While higher rates mean higher interest payments for companies refinancing their debt, there are companies with high cash balances that now earn higher rates on that cash. Until recently, it was typical to receive minimal returns on cash, often less than 1%. However, with the Federal Reserve implementing a series of interest rate hikes to curb inflation, this scenario has evolved. Today, investors have the potential to earn up to 5% or even more interest on their savings, marking the highest returns they have seen in approximately 15 years.
According to a CNBC article, there’s hundreds of thousands of dollars investors are potentially overlooking. “Portfolios ranging from $1.5 million to $2 million might have substantial cash holdings, reaching up to $300,000 or $400,000. At a 5% interest rate, this could result in an annual earning of $25,000 to $30,000. Over a span of 10 years, this could amount to $300,000,” reports Michael Halloran, head of partnerships and business development at MaxMyInterest.
“Interest income on our cash is increasing with the rising interest rates, while our bond debt is entirely at fixed rates.”
– Carole Ferrand, CFO & Member of Group Executive Board, Capgemini SE | July 2023, Earnings Call
“The trading in these agricultural commodities and energy commodities, that increased. The prices went up. The market volatility went up. The exchange benefited from the increased turbulence in this area. Its posted revenues also jumped about 34%. That’s due to a combination of the same factors, and then the higher interest rates contributing to the interest income, which I talked about for the collateral and margin fees in clearinghouses. That component of Deutsche Börse income jumped 5X in one year, because of the increased interest rates.”
– Competitor, Intercontinental Exchange Group | July 2023, Expert Call Transcript
Companies typically refinance, or issue new bonds, to pay off maturing bonds. This worked well for the last 10-plus years as rates were generally low. But now, new bonds come with higher interest rates. Consequently, interest expenses rise, which means net income falls.
That is why investments in global sustainable bonds have and will continue to skyrocket, according to a recent report from the Climate Bonds Initiative. Apparently, “the green label continues to dominate global thematic debt issuance, ending the year with 56% of GSS+ volumes and lifting the cumulative total of the segment to USD2.2tn.”
However, Bloomberg forecasts a reduction in the issuance of sustainability-linked bonds due to lingering doubts about target credibility. Meanwhile, green bonds are poised to maintain their dominance in the GSSSB market, following a record-setting level of issuance in the first half of the year.
And when it comes to deciphering the competitive landscape, Europe is projected to uphold its position as the primary region for GSSSBs, while North American issuance may face challenges due to diminished supply and demand for the remainder of the year. Emerging markets, on the other hand, might experience a surge in issuance over the upcoming year.
“As you can see, we are back to a strong liquidity margin, which fully covers the upcoming maturities until 2025, especially considering that between June ’24 and May ’25 there will be no maturities.”
– Adrian Calaza, Chief Financial Officer, Telecom Italia SPA | August 2023, Earnings Call
“I think for deal volume in the leveraged finance market, that has started to pick up quite a bit this year. I still follow where new insurance volumes are. There’s been a bit of maturity wall that eventually borrowers do have to get back to refinancings because it’s unlikely that they’re going to be able to just pay down upcoming maturities. Unfortunately, they also have to take it at just higher rates.”
– Former VP, Deutsche Bank AG | August 2023, Expert Call Transcript
Uncertainty in the Semiconductor Industry
Biden’s vision for the US to gain a leg up over China in semiconductor manufacturing is causing a multi-hundred billion dollar conundrum. To control its need for microchips, the US is funneling $300 billion in capital to reinvigorate its domestic semiconductor manufacturing processes. To that end, in July 2022, Congress passed the China Competition Bill or “CHIPS-plus” package, which aimed to allocate $52 billion in funding to US companies producing computer chips and offered a tax credit for investment in chip manufacturing.
And to further secure the US’s place in the race for semiconductor dominance, Biden signed an executive order in August that will narrowly prohibit certain US investments in sensitive technology in China and require government notification of funding in other tech sectors, including semiconductors and microelectronics.
However, the consequences of these restrictions are extensive, as China is responsible for roughly 80% of global electronics manufacturing and constitutes a substantial market for semiconductor consumption. Adding complexity to the situation, almost all major chip manufacturers have established customer relationships within China.
As tensions rise over meeting supply chains demands and access to materials, the fate of the semiconductor industry—projected to be valued at $1 trillion by the end of the decade—remains in question.
“And that’s been confirmed that we have applied for CHIPS Act funding in the U.S. as well from both manufacturing as well as R&D grants. We expect to hear where we stand with that by the end of the year, but we’re optimistic about our prospects there.”
– Vincent T. Roche, CEO & Chair of the Board of Directors, Analog Devices Inc | September 2023, Bank Conference Transcript
“With the CHIPS Act, there is a lot of pressure of keeping the fabrication within the U.S., which I fully support. This is like the agenda that both of our political parties are aligned on. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are aligned on this because it’s a matter of national security. It’s good, it’s awesome that they’re aligned on this.”
– Former Engineer, Intel Corp | September 2023, Expert Call Transcript
Shifting Consumer Spending Patterns
During periods of economic instability, the consumer and retail industry usually bears the initial and most substantial brunt. This sector proves highly responsive to almost every market event, serving as a crucial barometer for gauging discretionary spending and the overall state of the economy.
This past October, tens of millions of student loan borrowers resumed repayments after a three-year hiatus, prompting financial leaders to closely monitor the situation and gauge the potential impact on consumer spending. The suspension of payments and interest, initiated at the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided an opportunity for Americans to stockpile cash and spend more rather than save.
However, with the resumption of debt payments this fall, borrowers—apprehensive about meeting their student loan obligations—have already scaled back on discretionary spending. Now, CFOs from major companies are taking note of how student debt payments will not just affect their consumers, but their QoQ and YoY fiscal performance.
AlphaSense transcript data on this exact topic was featured recently in The Wall Street Journal.
“And then in the States, we’ve also got this concept of there’s been a period of time when student loan payments were not a part of it. They were suspended. That starts again in October. So there’s an expectation for a small number of people in the States that may impact their household expenditures to the tune of $200 to $500 per month. So people are beginning, to your point, to make real changes now, which is probably why we’re not spending 15% more year-over-year or 10%. Now we’re back to 4%.”
– Alastair M. Borthwick, Chief Financial Officer, Bank of America Corp | September 2023, Bank Conference Transcript
“That’s not just unique to mattresses. I think that’s in any D2C business. Look at a way Warby Parker, who even is vertical to an extent themselves, has seen stalled growth rates because it’s really challenging to acquire new customers in that model. In the current day, in 2023, where you have category headwinds because we pull forward demand and in an inflationary environment where now student loans are coming back, credit card debt is pre-COVID levels, we can see consumer stress, early indications on credit card, not forbearance.”
– Former Competitor, Purple Innovation | August 2023, Expert Call Transcript
Continued Growth of the Obesity Drug Market
Sales of a new generation of obesity drugs manufactured by Novo Nordisk are so robust, the company is now worth more than the entire economy of its native Denmark. That’s just one of the latest headlines underscoring the frenzy surrounding new obesity drugs on the market and in development from Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly and others.
Weekly U.S. prescriptions of Novo’s new Wegovy obesity treatment increased 450% YoY during 2Q23 and are dwarfing weekly prescriptions posted by Novo’s previous-generation Saxenda obesity drug.
Suffice it to say the market opportunity for obesity drugs is substantial, as Morgan Stanley projected the global obesity market to reach $77 billion in 2030, raising estimates from $54 billion previously.
“And I think you should also rest assured that we’re investing what is needed for us to scale capacities to continuously grow and aim to meet that demand. Pipeline progress is equally important for us. I think we have a very long underpinned growth opportunity with semaglutide based on the SELECT data. In parallel, we’re building late and early-stage pipeline. And we are quite comfortable that we can add that on top of the growth prospect that semaglutide provides.”
– Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, President, CEO & Member of Management Board, Novo Nordisk A/S | August 2023, Earnings Call Transcript
“In the long term, I would say mid-long term, Novo Nordisk will be successful if they are willing to diversify their portfolio, and it’s exactly what we discussed. I think, currently, they are putting all their eggs in the same basket, and even if they are trying to diversify their portfolio in rare disease area, I think they have to do more because, on the long-term, with the loss of exclusivity of semaglutide, in five, six years, something like that, it will be tough.”
– Former Regional Unit Head, Novo Nordisk A/S | September 2023, Expert Call Transcript
Listen to our Signals podcast episode with Director of Healthcare Research for AlphaSense, Sara Stahl: New Weight Loss Drugs: Overview and Implications.
New Obesity Drugs on the Scene
Mounjaro and Tirzepatide—dual agonists with better weight loss results—are the next big drugs after semaglutide. According to a study published this past Decembers, individuals who continue to take the weight loss drug irzepatide experience better results both with losing weight and keeping it off compared to those who take the drug for a limited duration.
The previous phase three clinical trials showed that tirzepatide, which is sold under the brand names Mounjaro and the recently approved Zepbound, resulted in a 20% or greater weight loss after 72 weeks compared to a control group that was taking a placebo. Experts believe that additional weight loss could help people feel like it’s worthwhile to stay on the drug.
It’s no wonder why, in recent quarters, tirzepatide as Mounjaro (for managing type 2 diabetes) has achieved quarter-over-quarter sales growth ranging from about 44% to 72%. The product won FDA approval for type 2 diabetes in May 2022.
“I think we’ve long known that obesity’s risk factor for cardiovascular — negative cardiovascular outcomes. And we’ve also known that treating obesity by any other way that worked, which is essentially bariatric surgery and intensive lifestyle modification, which won’t work in some patients, led to cardiovascular benefits. And now we know that the same is true for GLP-1-mediated weight loss. So that’s really good news for patients. I think for Lilly, it’s also exceptionally good news. I think in tirzepatide, we have a drug that’s shown levels of weight loss that haven’t been seen before, right? We’ve reported in the last couple of months SURMOUNT-3 and -4 weight loss trials that showed 26% body weight loss, which is tremendous.”
– Daniel M. Skovronsky, Executive VP, Chief Scientific & Medical Officer and President of Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly & Co | September 2023, Bank Conference Transcript
“Mounjaro is a GLP/GIP agonist and so it actually has better A1c and better weight reduction, which makes sense because it’s a two-peptide drug, so it does make sense, but its cardiovascular data has not come out yet. One would expect that it would have cardiovascular benefits, but if I have a patient with coronary artery disease and let’s say I have to choose one, I would choose Ozempic to start with because it has cardiovascular benefit. That’s what I mean. If somebody had an event, Mounjaro, hands down, would be first, if it’s covered by the insurance.”
– University Endocrinologist | September 2023, Expert Call Transcript
Today, generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) has integrated into nearly every industry, ranging from healthcare to banking, retail, and even manufacturing. The fast adoption of GenAI across sectors is due in part to its applications, which now span core functions in marketing and sales, product development, engineering, supply chain and operations, and support departments like IT, legal, talent acquisition and HR, strategy, and finance.
While genAI continues to revolutionize how business is conducted around the world, promising a slew of benefits (i.e., optimizing workforce efficiency, cutting expenses, accelerating research and development. etc.) for individual contributors to executive leadership, shareholders, and beyond, transcript mentions within AlphaSense have almost flat-tlined in Q3. What this means is that while the buzz around genAI is wearing out, its ubiquitous deployment phase is likely already here.
“Since we were last together here a year ago, a lot has changed. Most importantly, OpenAI’s public release of ChatGPT in November officially inaugurated the generative AI era. And that’s what I’d like to talk to you about today, how Workday is positioned to capitalize on generative AI, the revolution that’s going on and share a bit about where we’re going with all this.”
– Sayan Chakraborty, Co-President, Workday Inc | September 2023, Analyst Day Call Transcript
“Yes, the generative AI being able to make code, build code, have machines build code certainly will remove some of those jobs, but the human aspect is still required to be able to understand what the problem statements are coming from product owners, etc., which is not always the easiest thing for humans to do, and I think AI is not there yet, certainly.”
– Former Competitor, Accenture PLC | September 2023, Expert Call Transcript
Rise of Graphic Processing Units
Graphic processing units (GPUs)—the electronic processor designed to render different, frequently changing images and handle memory to fasten or frame said images to your mobile or TV screen—is poised for substantial growth. According to Precedence Research, the GPU market will grow at CAGR of 33.8% By 2032.
The cause for this rapid acceleration? Technological advancements like 3D designs, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, and various gaming platforms. Alongside the increase in wearable technologies as well as the Internet of Things, these developments are leading tech players to make major investments in the GPU market.
“But I think these AI workloads, whether they are collective operations were all reduced or all are dominating the world because these GPUs are data-intensive, compute-intensive and network intensive. Every cycle is a compute, exchange, reduce and then the cycle continues again. And the initiation of this training depends on the suite of GPUs, which even last November until the whole ChatGPT, OpenAI came along, we thought 1 billion parameters was a lot. And today, you can see with ChatGPT, you can record up to 175 billion parameters and in GPT-4 models is expected to be 1 trillion parameters. So clearly, we’re pushing the envelope of compute processing as well as the network in a way I never imagined, and we haven’t done in the last 3 decades of my networking history.”
– Jayshree V. Ullal, President, CEO & Director, Arista Networks Inc | September 2023, Bank Conference Transcript
“When as an enterprise, if I do not want to use OpenAI, you have to consider and you want to host it by yourself, you have to consider are you able to run such huge infrastructure to support this because it becomes extremely expensive. You need to have GPUs. You need to have multiple GPUs. You need to have a server that can handle the workload. If you are simply making a call to the service server for everything, quickly, the server capacity will run out. You have to weigh a lot of things down, not just the model’s capabilities, but also the infrastructure and engineering capabilities of running this model.”
– Customer, Amazon.com Inc | September 2023, Expert Call Transcript
Establishing domestic supply chains starts with reshoring—a strategy that brings production and manufacturing “back home,” i.e. returning it to the country in which the company was first established. According to Deloitte, American manufacturers will reshore nearly 350,000 jobs in 2022—a 25% increase compared to the previous year.
This is due to the fact that many countries from which the US imports goods from—China and the EU—have recently proved to be unreliable in manufacturing and exporting. China, which has been a focal point for global production for decades, is waning, evidenced by a decline in factory activity due to COVID this past year.
Simultaneously, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put a premium on the essential commodities that many sectors rely on, as they are no longer guaranteed. It’s forced suppliers to reconsider how they can acquire the supplies they need to meet their end users’ demands.
“Because coming out of COVID, companies are really looking at their supply chains making adjustments, and that feeds right into Ryder sweet spot. We’re helping these companies with opening up new facilities or maybe rethinking their network, we’re a North America-based company, so we’re U.S., Mexico, Canada. So all the — anything having to do with nearshoring and onshoring really is a benefit to us.”
– Robert E. Sanchez, Chairman & CEO, Ryder Systems Inc | September 2023, Bank Conference Transcript
“The second trend that I see professional service companies being more drawn into is definitely the reshaping of the global supply chain, whether some of them call it nearshoring, whether some of them call it reshaping or reshuffling of supply chains. The secondary and third-tier impacts of COVID, the stopping of global supply chains, maritime supply chains, and the deceleration of China as a global manufacturing hub which has been picked up by other markets, has definitely put companies that require professional services at the need of these services to make the right decision. Companies know that they should start diversifying their manufacturing opportunities.”
– Competitor, Deloitte Ltd | October 2023, Expert Call Transcript
Longer Sales Cycles
Last year, companies started looking at software spending more carefully, leading to longer sales cycles. Business-software companies like Salesforce, Okta, and CrowdStrike report customers being more cautious with their spending in response to a challenging economy, adding to the tech industry’s list of concerns.
Ultimately, customers are taking longer to sign deals, and in some cases slowing their hiring plans as they try to protect their bottom lines. That trend has created a cloudy outlook for many in the once-booming business-software sector, which benefited from years of demand as customers looked to use the products to trim costs and maintain their businesses during the pandemic.
“So the good news is observability has continued to grow much faster than your average that you mentioned earlier. The other piece is that we’ve certainly not been immune to longer sales cycles, budget scrutiny and on other elements. So in a macro environment that frees up to some extent, then presumably, it gets easier to reaccelerate.”
– Rick M. McConnell, CEO & Director, Dynatrace Inc | September 2023, Bank Conference Transcript
“I think the challenges for them, like most companies in the space, is adapting to these longer sales cycles and having the investment to support those longer sales cycles and actually changing your business and sales processes to make yourself successful.”
– Former Vice President, Moloco Inc | July 2023, Expert Call Transcript
Staying Ahead in 2024
With today’s volatile markets, research professionals need to prepare for the constantly shifting and evolving nature of conducting business today. Having access to a financial research platform that allows you to monitor and analyze trends ensures you make better-informed decisions and amplify your strategy to the next level.
Access the links to each individual trend in our downloadable guide, 10 Market-Moving Trends to Shape 2024.