The strength of the U.S. consumer was put to the test in 2023, having faced several headwinds, including higher interest rates, sharply increased prices for goods and services, and heightened market volatility. Still, consumer spending remained resilient as a surprisingly strong labor market and COVID-era savings helped most Americans weather the inflation storm.

Consumer spending accounts for nearly 70% of the U.S. gross domestic product, highlighting how important it is to recognize the emerging consumer trends and behaviors that we are seeing to better understand the future state of the economy as we enter a pivotal year.

Brent Gledhill
Brent Gledhill, William Blair President and CEO

Therefore, this Client Focus issue explores today’s consumer and what kind of behaviors we might expect in the new year, with insights from colleagues, clients, and community partners.

Equity Research Analysts Jon Andersen and Phillip Blee discuss pricing trends and insights into consumer thinking in a post-holiday shopping season and post-pandemic world. Olga Bitel, Investment Management’s Global Strategist, shares her outlook for 2024 after the global economy defied expectations of a recession and falling interest rates in 2023.

A profile of our Investment Banking client, Soteria, discusses how differentiation and customer-centricity in the packaging industry have led to market share gains. An interview with Investment Banking’s Crystal Flick and Javon Nicholas, founder of The Flavour Unit Corporation and graduate of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago’s Breedlove Accelerator Program, highlights the importance of community engagement and support of small business entrepreneurs in the eyes of the consumer.

Finally, as consumers continue to evaluate their spending and saving habits, our Private Wealth Management wealth planning team offers tips on making the most of a periodic investment plan. The start of a new year is the perfect time to meet with your William Blair wealth advisor to review your financial goals.  

While the landscape of consumer preferences is always evolving, and 2024 is sure to be no exception, I continue to be impressed by the depth and expertise of our colleagues around the world and, even more importantly, the genuine dedication and care they show for our clients.

Thank you for the trust you have placed in our team. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at with any questions or ideas for how we can better serve you. We look forward to working with you this year.



Brent Gledhill
President and CEO