Navigating the IPO Landscape: Reflecting on Our Current IPO Market and a Glimpse into 2024

By: Ami Weiss  |  December 19, 2023

Ami Weiss, Staff Writer

The Initial Public Offering (IPO) market has witnessed significant fluctuations in recent years, reflecting changes in the economy and investor sentiment. In 2021, a bullish trend fueled a surge of 1035 IPOs, driven by high confidence and ample liquidity. Technology, healthcare, and green energy sectors thrived, influenced by technological advancements and ESG considerations.

An IPO marks the transition of a private company to a publicly traded one, enabling it to sell shares to the public for the first time. However, the euphoria of 2021 gave way to caution in 2022, as concerns about inflation, interest rates, and global uncertainties led to only 185 IPOs. Sectors that flourished in the previous year faced headwinds, emphasizing the volatile nature of the market. 

Companies responded by exploring alternative capital-raising ventures. Private markets gained favor, offering a route that sidesteps the complexities of going public. Direct listings gained popularity and eliminated intermediaries, as demonstrated by companies like Spotify and Slack.

The IPO process itself faced scrutiny due to its time-consuming nature and associated costs. Some firms opted to stay private, and market volatility further fueled hesitancy among potential IPO candidates.

In 2023, the cautious atmosphere continues, with 149 IPOs on the US stock market as the year draws to a close. Challenges stemming from interest rate hikes and inflation concerns persist, driven by high borrowing costs that hinder some companies from going public. Despite this, experts foresee a recovery by late 2024 as interest rates are expected to decrease. Institutional investors, though cautious, are likely to reconsider their stance as the economy potentially reaches equilibrium.

Notable IPOs in 2023 include Arm, a British semiconductor company valued at around $60 billion, and Instacart the famous food delivery service with a $10 billion valuation. These debuts showcase the resilience of certain sectors amidst market uncertainties.

Looking ahead to late 2024, a pipeline of startups are gearing up for IPOs. While details remain undisclosed, the anticipation adds optimism, hinting at a potential resurgence of IPO activities.

Investor sentiment in the current climate is cautious. High costs due to rate hikes and lingering inflation are major concerns. Recent IPOs experienced share price declines, leaving investors wary. However, as market dynamics evolve, a more favorable environment for IPOs is expected to emerge.