Global predictions for 2019

• Global predictions for the world economy are less optimistic than in 2018 • Many countries also expect public unrest in the coming year • After a hot 2018 most expect global temperatures to continue to rise

The latest Ipsos Global Advisor poll was carried out in 31 countries around the world at the end of 2018.  The survey interviewed 21,000 adults online, and covered a range of topics on the economy, world affairs, technological advancements and society and culture. Since this survey is online, the South African views represented here are not of the population as a whole but those with regular access to the Internet.


Reflecting back and looking ahead

  • 2018: People are more likely to say that 2018 was a bad year for their country (62%), than it was for their them and their family (46%). In a year with the controversial election of President Bolsonaro, Brazilians are among the most likely to say that 2018 was a bad year for their country (85%), narrowly behind neighbouring Argentina (86%), who were also most likely to say that it had been a bad year for them and their family.  More than four in five (83%) of online South Africans thought that 2018 was a bad year for our country, but with ever prevalent optimism 86% say: “I am optimistic that 2019 will be a better year for me than it was in 2018”.
  • 2019: Three in four (75%) are optimistic that 2019 will be better than last year, particularly across South America where this sentiment was near unanimous in Peru (94%), Colombia (92%) and Mexico (90%). Whereas, only half in France (50%) were as positive, and even fewer in Japan (42%).  In keeping with the previous point about a spark of optimism when it comes to the individuals, an overwhelming 91% of South Africans said: “I will make some personal resolutions to do some specific things for myself and others in 2019.”  (This seen against the world average of 76%.) 


World affairs





  • Economy:  About 53% say that the global economy will strengthen in 2019, with above average confidence coming from India (85%) and Peru (81Amongst the least optimistic are France (24%), Japan (28%) and Great Britain (30%). Worldwide, 37% expect major stock markets around the world to crash in 2019, which has risen from around a quarter who expected a crash in 2018 All countries have grown more pessimistic about the economy since 2018. The biggest changes are noted in Great Britain (47% compared to  25% for last year) and Russia (47% compared with 26%) where expectations of a crash have nearly doubled.   South African opinions are in line with the world average with 35% thinking that a major stock market crash is likely this year.


  • Global Warming: Around the world, people  predict that average global temperatures will increase this year, with nearly four in five (78%) thinking so. Malaysia (88%), Chile (88%) and Turkey (86%) are the most convinced.  In a blistering hot South Africa four in every five (82%) online South Africans think average global temperatures will increase in 2019, up from 76% in the previous study.  Regarding this opinion, we are on a par with Columbia, China and France. Following President Trump pulling out of the Paris Agreement last year, Americans remain the most sceptical about rising temperatures with only 63% believing that the temperature will rise


  • President Trump: Attitudes to President Trump’s future remain relatively unchanged since last year, with a third (32%) predicting his impending impeachment. As trade discussions between the United States and China intensify, the Chinese are now the most likely to think his removal from office is imminent (50%).  Again, the online population of South African is close to the world average with a third (33%) expecting impeachment; the Belgians share this opinion with us at the same level.
  • Terrorist Attacks: Western Europe is the most concerned about a terrorist attack this year, with nearly two in three (63%) in France thinking it is likely, followed by Great Britain (57%), Israel and Russia (both 52%). South American countries seem less concerned, as seen in Argentina (13%), Mexico (15%), Peru (15%), along with Serbia (13%). Online South Africans are also not very concerned about the terrorism issue when compared to other countries and only a quarter (26%) believe that the possibility of a major terrorist attack is high.



  • Personal Data: Half the global population (50%) think that their personal data will be leaked on the internet this year, but only around a quarter say they will be using social media less (28%). Countries most wary of their data being leaked include Turkey (69%), South Korea (68%) and China (65%), while this drops to nearer three in ten in Serbia (29%) and Germany (31%). 45% of online South Africans think that the possibility is high that their personal data will be leaked – but a fairly comfortable majority (60%) say that is it unlikely that they will use social media channels less.
  • Artificial intelligence: Two in five (38%) on average predict that doctors in their country will use artificial intelligence to decide on treatment for their patients in 2019. This is seen as more likely across Asia, particularly in China (60%), Malaysia (58%) and India (57%), whereas Eastern Europe seems more hesitant, as seen in Russia (21%), Hungary (23%), Czech Republic (25%) and Serbia (25%). In South Africa, online opinions are divided on this issue, with 39% saying that it is likely and 49% saying it is unlikely that doctors will use artificial intelligence for this purpose.
  • Entertainment: Eight in ten on average (80%) think it’s likely that people around the world will spend more time online than watching TV in 2019.  In South Africa the opportunity for growth in connectivity of the general population is high, and 84% of online South Africans expect to spend more time online than watching television – the same proportion as in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Society and culture


  • Protests and Riots: Over half (56%) expect large scale public unrest (such as protests or riots) in their countries For South Africa, the possibility of public unrest look high in this election year as three-quarters (74%) say that it is definitely likely for protests to happen.   In France, President Macron’s problems do not appear to be ending this year, with four in five (83%) in France predicting more unrest.
  • Gender Equality: Only two in five (42%) think that women will be paid the same as men for the same work, but women are much less optimistic than men (36% and  48% respectively).  Just over half (52%) of online South Africans are optimistic regarding gender parity, but 43% believe that it is unlikely to happen soon.
  • Social Cohesion: People do not expect social divisions to heal very much in 2019, as just a quarter (26% on average) think people in their country will become more tolerant of each other.  South Africans are not optimistic about this issue either and only 30% of those online think that some form of social cohesion is likely, while two-thirds (65%) say that it is unlikely to happen soon. In Europe, at least eight in ten think it unlikely that tolerance will increase in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, Netherlands, and France.




  • Nearly two in five (38%) think it likely that a cure for the common cold will be discovered this year. Online South Africans are aligned with the global opinion at 38% - not to mention that a Nobel prize will definitely be in the offing for such a breakthrough.
  • Ghosts and Aliens: While no nations were very convinced that any will happen, still over one in ten globally think there is a likely chance of discovering the existence of ghosts (16%) and time travel (15%), or Earth being visited by aliens (13%).  In the old tradition of telling ghost stories around a campfire, one in five (22%) South Africans says that the existence of ghosts is likely to be discovered, almost the same proportion (21%) say that time travel is likely and 11% believe that aliens will visit the earth.  This last opinion places us right between Hungary and Germany.


Technical notes:


  • These are the findings of the Global Advisor Wave predictions survey for 2019.  In total 21,141 interviews were conducted between 21 December – 9 January among adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and adults aged 16-64 in all other countries.
  • The survey was conducted in 31 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States
  • For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 21,141 adults aged 18-64 in the US, Israel and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel, with the exception of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Hungary, India, Israel, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+.
  • Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to the most recent country Census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points for a sample of 1,000 and an estimated margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20 per country of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in that country had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
  • 18 of the 31 countries surveyed online generate nationally representative samples in their countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States).
  • Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Turkey, Chile, Colombia and Malaysia produce a national sample that is more urban & educated, and with higher incomes than their fellow citizens.  We refer to these respondents as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”.  They are not nationally representative of their country.
  • Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.
  • Data is weighted to match the profile of the population.

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