Skip to main content

An unpredictable year

No one expects all of their predictions for the year ahead to be correct, but that was especially true for 2020.

In looking ahead to 2021, I looked back at the Economist’s predictions for 2020, some of which didn’t prove correct, while others did in unexpected ways.

The Economist got it right about the US presidential election “turning ugly” although its concern was about the campaign not the argument over the validity of postal votes. It also thought some economies could “flirt” with recession but didn’t expect the over 5% reduction in the size of the global economy.

The Economist also predicted highs and lows for the technology sector, but I doubt that it expected that Zoom’s profits which were $22m in 2019 would increase to $186m in the three months between May and July 2020. The pandemic also ensured that the prediction that a “torrent” of entertainment would come onstream proved correct. The Disney+ streaming service acquired 86 million subscribers in its first year of operation, a number that it took Netflix almost 10 years to achieve.

There was also speculation on the impact of a number of events on the environment (UN Climate Change and Biodiversity Conferences), sport (Tokyo Olympics and football’s Euro 2020 tournament) and entertainment (the release of the 25th James Bond film: “No Time Top Die”). The pandemic resulted in all of them being postponed to 2021.

However, my view of the “Best Unfulfilled Prediction” of 2020 came in April 2020 when it was widely speculated that a vaccine for COVID-19 would not be available for 12 to 18 months. But, only eight months later, on 8 December, Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive a vaccine approved for general use.

With that in mind, the prediction that I am most hopeful of proving to be correct in 2021 is the one provided by Omni Calculator ( that I will receive my first COVID-19 vaccination by 24 March and my second by 16 June.

Let’s all look forward to a more predictable, and less unusual, 2021.


Jim Foster

CMCE Associate Director

Wednesday 6th January 2021
Hands on typewriter