Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA)? It raised its dividends from $3.85 per share in 2022 to $4.50 per share last year. National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) followed a similar path, dialling up its own shareholder payouts from $1.51 per share to $1.67.
But given how monstrous the payouts were in that year from the likes of BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) and Woodside Energy Group Ltd (ASX: WDS), 2023's dividends still look very high from a historical standpoint.
However, 2024 could give investors a different story, and not entirely a pleasant one, if one ASX expert is to be believed.
Fund manager Ausbil recently spoke to the Australian Financial Review (AFR) about its projections for the present year. Although Ausbil predicted that "dividends this year will be broadly in line with 2023", it also warned investors that "the local market's dividend yield will be slightly lower because of soaring valuations".
So if yields from major ASX shares are going to be lower over 2023, where should income investors look to for passive income this year?
3 ASX dividend shares to consider in 2024
Considering the warning from Ausbil, the first dividend stock I would turn to is Telstra Group Ltd (ASX: TLS). Unlike many ASX 200 shares, the Telstra share price actually went backwards last year, dropping from over $4.40 in July to a low of $3.75 in November.
But this fall, probably unwelcomed by shareholders, has boosted Telstra's dividend yield today, which sits at a fully franked 4.21%. Telstra has one of the most defensive earnings bases on the ASX in my view. As such, I regard its ASX dividends as highly reliable. Even better, some brokers reckon the company could give investors another pay raise this year.
Next, I'd think about Coles Group Ltd (ASX: COL). Coles is another blue-chip stock that spent 2023 going backwards. But again, this has been a boon for new income investors. At under $16 today. Coles shares offer a fully-franked yield of 4.13%.
This is another company that has a highly defensive earning base from which it pays out ASX dividends. We recently looked at one expert's prediction that Coles might be forking out 70 cents per share by FY2025.
Lower share prices mean higher dividend yields
Finally, I think income investors should kick the tyres of Transurban Group (ASX: TCL). Transurban shares have been rather flat over many years now. Today's prices are cheaper than what you could have bought the company at way back in 2019. Not to mention their pre-COVID 2020 peak of over $16.
However, we see a different story playing out if we look at this toll road operator's dividends. After a big dip in 2020, Transurban's ASX dividends are now back to their 2019 levels.
Given the company's ability to easily pass on inflation to motorists, I think there's a reasonable shot at the company growing its dividends even further over 2024.
At today's share price of $13.44, you can grab a dividend yield of 4.32% from Transurban.