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Who Got It Right? A Look Back at Expert Predictions For 2021

Last year, the editorial team at Visual Capitalist scoured through 200+ reports, articles, podcasts, and more, to create our 2021 Prediction Consensus—a big picture and aggregated look at the key trends that experts predict for the year ahead.


If 2021 taught us anything, it’s that things can change at the drop of the hat. Amidst all this uncertainty, how many of the highlighted predictions came to fruition, and which ones didn’t pan out exactly as expected?

Before we start, it’s worth revisiting the prediction bingo board for 2021:


The Easy-to-Quantify Predictions for 2021

Some of the predictions were easy to quantify—like the price of Bitcoin, or GDP targets.


PREDICTION 1:

Bitcoin hits the $50,000 mark

Did it happen? Yes

As many of the experts forecasted, Bitcoin, and the crypto space in general, had another explosive year in 2021.


Bitcoin’s price rose 72%—from $29,000 at the start of 2021 to roughly $50,000 today (after reaching an all-time high of $69,000 in November).

The price increase wasn’t without its fair share of volatility, with Bitcoin suffering three different pullbacks of at least 30%, the greatest being a 50% correction in May.

Bitcoin’s ascent is impressive considering the amount of attention and capital that poured into other cryptocurrencies and sectors in the space. Layer one blockchains like Ethereum (+483% in 2021) and Solana (+12,500% in 2021) greatly outpaced bitcoin’s price growth, and NFTs emerged as one of the hottest markets this year.


PREDICTION 2:

Global GDP grows 5-6%

Did it happen? Yes

By the end of 2021, Euromonitor International expects global real GDP to increase by 5.7%, which aligns perfectly with expert predictions from last year.

However, despite the global economy’s overall growth, this year hasn’t come without its challenges.

Supply chain issues have triggered a rise in global commodity prices. And since supply constraints are likely to continue into 2022 or beyond, global inflation is expected to keep rising, which could create a drag on real GDP growth.


PREDICTION 3:

Positive growth for small cap stocks

Did it happen? Yes

The S&P Small Cap 600 Index generated a return of 24.6% from December 31, 2020, to December 7, 2021. This mimics the performance of the S&P 500 Index, which grew by 24.8% over the same time period.

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