What's in store for 2015? City A.M.'s digital team make their predictions for the year ahead

What to look out for in 2015:
Here is what City A.M. predicts

The fireworks have come and gone and all that is left is the headache and that nagging sensation you have to be at work this time tomorrow. So what better time to start looking ahead at all the great things there are for us to anticipate.

From the general election and the world economy to your grandma's first iWatch, here is a selection of City A.M's predictions for 2015.

1) The end of the political duopoly

If there's one thing that's certain about this year's general election it's that no one has any idea what the result will be. In what is set to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable contest in half a century each party faces a unique set of challenges. Whatever the outcome, it's likely to be bad news for the two main parties, as we may see the final breakup of Britain's duopoly politics.

With the SNP hammering Labour in Scotland and Ukip terrorising the Tories in England, both parties are struggling to poll 35 per cent of the vote. The Lib Dems are on course for electoral oblivion, but the smaller parties could be set for their best year yet with a hung parliament being the most likely outcome.

2) Wearables going mainstream

Even your grandmother will know about wearables in 2015- with a little help from Apple.

The Apple Watch is expected to go on sale in the first half of the year giving the smartwatch widespread attention and peaking widespread consumer interest more than Samsung and Sony have yet been able to muster.

Both these brands and other companies developing wearables, from fashion (Ralph Lauren) to pharma (Johnson & Johnson), many of which are likely to be showcased at January's Consumer Electronics Show, will benefit from the extra attention. It's by no means a one trick Apple pony.

While Apple Watch demand may not be quite on an iPhone scale, it's expected to be more of an iPad level slow grower, but will certainly take the wearable concept into the mainstream in 2015. That's Grandma's Christmas gift for next year sorted then.

3) The year of the brain race

2015 will be a year for understanding the human brain. Across the world, teams of scientists are working together to develop technologies based on the way we think - something called "cognitive computing". Once they are in existence, they will be some of the most advanced machines known to man.

But the big question will be who gets there first; the European Union has launched the Human Brain Project, while across the pond the Americans are furthering their BRAIN project (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies).

In the other direction, China is focussing on a similar scheme called Brainnetome. A huge amount of government funding has been thrown at all the projects, and the ambition is the same in each case - to be the most technologically advanced place in the word. May the brain race begin.

4) When it comes to property, what goes up must come down

2014 was a year of two halves - in the first part of the year, house prices spiralled out of control. In the second, the Bank of England's cooling measures began to take their effect, dampening that growth.

Will it be the same story in 2015? Savills has predicted more muted growth - a rise in prices of just one per cent during the year.

For Prime Central London, traditionally seen as a "safe haven" for the likes of Russian oligarchs (who, at the moment, are looking for a way to get rid of their roubles), the news is less encouraging: a 0.5 per cent fall in prices, thanks to the government's stamp duty changes. So not quite the excitement of this year - but then, what goes up must come down. Albeit only slightly.

5) Facebook finally falters

We all know that Facebook isn't quite the unassailable behemoth it once was, but next year could really see a seismic shift in the social media landscape. There are more rivals than ever before and with the likes of Ello, an articulated reason to leave behind the ad-heavy, data-holding (and government-supplying) giants that have led the way until now.

The most important factor, really, is that it has lost ground with the kids, who are choosing Instagram and others for their public platforms and (handily for Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook-owned) WhatsApp for their actual socialising, with LinkedIn on the side for work. Of course, that's not to say it's the beginning of the end for Facebook, but it's almost certainly the end of the beginning.

6) All eyes on Europe and Russia

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the rise of anti-EU parties means eurozone investors will be watching out for geopolitical risk in 2015.

Trade sanctions between European countries and Russia will continue to bring economic pain in 2015 but more so for the latter whose woes are currently compounded by crumbling oil prices. If the crisis escalates then this will hit consumer confidence and rile global markets.

Another flashpoint is the return of the single currency crisis thanks to political developments in Greece. Earlier this week lawmakers failed to appoint a new president meaning the country will hold snap elections on 25 January. This could hand power to anti-austerity left wing party Syriza who want to cancel the country's €240bn (£188m) bailout plan with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

7) It's the economy, stupid.

The government is saying it has ticked a lot of boxes: wage growth is now faster than inflation (1.6 per cent for regular pay, 1.4 per cent for total), unemployment is down to six per cent and GDP has regained its pre-crisis peak.

The conditions look ripe for an interest rise some time in the spring, when we can expect the hike to come in stages to match Mark Carney's comments that it will be "gradual."

It is worth remembering that things look a bit rosier than they are: this crisis has taken longer to escape than previous downturns, and wages are rising from a low base. What is more, GDP per capita is yet to catch up with its pre-crisis peak.

2015 should bring slower GDP growth of 2.6 per cent, according to ratings agency Fitch, while inflation should rise back towards the Bank's two per cent target. A rebalancing of the Labour market, with more full-time and high end jobs will hopefully see an increase in wage growth, although it is expected to remain slow until 2016, perhaps growing between one and two per cent in 2015.

8) Big spending in sport
January Transfer Window

There's so much sport to look forward to in 2015, but with the January transfer window just days away from opening it's hard to look beyond anything else right now.

Premier League clubs spent more money on new players than ever before in the summer: Will the splurge continue? Or will Financial Fair Play start to weigh heavily on owners' minds?

Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United all spent big in pre-season, but all still have gaps in their squad that need addressing.

Further afield, we can look forward to England hosting the Rugby World Cup in September and October. The tournament is expected to add £2.2bn to the UK economy.

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