Buying Apple now as easy as Westpac for Aussie share traders

By Tom Watson ·

Whether it’s because of the opportunities presented by volatile markets or the relatively low rates on banking products such as savings accounts and term deposits, Australians have flocked to share trading during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest Online Investing Report from financial research company Investment Trends revealed that in the six months to June 2020 the number of active online investors in Australia jumped from 750,000 to 1.06 million.

“Looking at the Investment Trends data, this is the first time that number has crept over the one million mark,” said Andrew Rogers, director of stockbroking at CMC Markets.

“We always see new investors, normally around 70,000, but in the six months to June which covers the initial COVID period we saw 265,000 new investors place a trade - so about four times higher than average.”

On the domestic market, Rogers said that new investors have been particularly partial to buy now, pay later stocks such as Afterpay - which is currently up over 900% since March. 

But Australians are also setting their sights abroad.

The ASX’s 2020 Australian Investor Study suggests that 17% of investors are planning to buy international shares in the next 12 months, while research from Investment Trends found that 25% of new traders said access to international markets was a key feature in the trading platform they opted for.

“In recent months, we have seen intensified global market volatility and, in turn, increasing demand from traders and everyday investors looking to access international shares,” said Rogers.

“We’re finding that interest is quite concentrated to certain stocks, the majority of which are brand names that people know, see and use everyday like Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Tesla, Intel, and Procter and Gamble.

“Recently there’s been a lot of interest in the COVID-19 vaccine-related stocks as well, so SmithKline Beecham in the UK and Novavax in the US.”

Investors looking to trade internationally have also been helped by improvements in the functionality of the online platforms themselves, as well as lower costs.

In the last few months alone a few new low-cost players have entered the online trading market, while existing platforms like CMC Markets and IG have both launched zero brokerage offers for shares traded from select international markets.

“The way our platform works - and other platforms too - is that when you’re buying an ASX stock it’s the same experience as buying a US or a Japanese stock, so the experience of buying Apple really is no different to buying Westpac,” said Rogers.

“There’s no additional paperwork, we debit your account in AUD, we convert it at the exchange rate when the order’s filled, and then when you sell you’ll receive your funds two Australian days after settlement.”

RELATED: The best online share trading platforms in Australia in 2020

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Tom Watson
Tom Watson
Finance journalist

Tom Watson is a financial journalist at Mozo, specialising in fintech, property and business banking. Whether it’s reporting on banking trends or uncovering the latest product innovations, Tom’s mission is to keep our readers up to date with breaking Australian financial news. His work is often sourced in the media and across social media channels. Tom has a degree in Journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney.