Australia's lockdown love affair with shares continues as investor numbers double

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From homemade sourdough to home workouts, Australians have embraced plenty of new hobbies over the past 17 months, but new research has also revealed the ongoing popularity of another pandemic passion: investing.

Released yesterday, the 2021 1H Online Investing Report from research company Investment Trends has highlighted the continued surge of new online investors to share trading, ETFs and other securities.

The report, which was based on a survey of nearly 20,000 investors, revealed that 148,000 Australians placed a trade for the first time in the six months to May 2021.

Overall, Investment Trends found that roughly 1.43 million people made at least one trade in the 12 months to May 2021, which is a 35% year-on-year increase.

Irene Guiamatsia, who is head of research at Investment Trends, suggested that these numbers illustrate the considerable rise in popularity of investing throughout the COVID-19 period, with the number of Australians participating in the market now close to double that of just a few years ago. 

“The pandemic has significantly shifted the Australian investing landscape throughout 2020 and this continued through the first half of 2021,” she said.

“To put things into perspective, the number of active retail online investors, that is those who bought or sold securities in a 12-month period, has almost doubled compared to pre-pandemic levels, from 750,000 to 1,430,000.”

Crypto comeback

The report also highlighted what anyone who’s kept half an eye on the news in the past year will be aware of: the resurgent interest in cryptocurrency among Aussie investors. 

According to Investment Trends 13% of online investors said that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Dogecoin now made up part of their investment mix (up from 8% six months ago), while an additional 10% said they planned to add cryptocurrency to their portfolios in the next year. 

“The rapid rise in novel cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin, which valuation surged from $0.01 to $0.68 between January and May 2021, has certainly captured the imagination of many investors, especially Zoomers and Millennials,” said Guiamatsia.

“While there may be concerns about investor exuberance for relatively volatile digital assets, our research shows diversification and long-term investing are investors’ top cited reasons for holding cryptocurrencies – rather than speculative purposes.”

Rise of the challengers

While new Aussie traders have jumped on the investment bandwagon during the pandemic, there’s also been an influx of new online share trading and investment platforms. 

In the past 12 months alone the likes of Pearler, Sharesies and Superhero have all hit the Australian market, joining existing ‘challengers’ in offering cheap brokerage and lower entry thresholds which seem to be making a mark with younger and first-time investors.

“It’s encouraging to see so many Australians starting their investing journey,” said Guiamatsia. 

“Challenger brands like SelfWealth, Stake, eToro and Superhero are growing their footprint among these first-time investors with sharp pricing, feature rich platforms and mobile-first UX.”

RELATED: The best online share trading platforms in Australia in 2021

Ready to take the plunge and start your own investing journey? Well if you’re interested in trading shares, ETFs and other equities from your smartphone or laptop, you’ll need an online platform to help make that happen. 

Get started right away by comparing some of the great options in the table below, or head on over to our dedicated share trading hub to compare share trading accounts from a range of providers.

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    Share Trading

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    Invest in AU stocks, US stocks, HK stocks and ETFs on moomoo trading platform. US trades from $0.99 USD, other fees apply. Backed by a Nasdaq-listed fintech. (T&Cs apply).

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    Share Investing

    Standard

    Small trade brokerage
    Monthly fee
    $0.00
    $0.00

    CMC Markets Invest makes it easy to trade with a handy web and mobile platform, competitive pricing and thousands of securities. Buy Australian and US shares from $0 brokerage (T&Cs apply - see website for full details).

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    Mozo Experts Choice 2023
    Tiger Account

    Small trade brokerage
    Monthly fee
    $5.50
    $0.00

    Tiger Brokers is an online broker listed on NASDAQ. It offers access to US, ASX & HK stocks, ETFs and US options trading. Enjoy one brokerage-free trade per month on US and ASX stocks* with account opening. Mozo special offer for new users only: Get USD $25 in Tesla fractional shares plus USD $50 in fractional shares for new accounts with an accumulative net deposit of AUD 500*. T&Cs apply.

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    Share Trading

    Small trade brokerage
    Monthly fee
    $7.70
    $0.00

    Buy and sell with a low $7.70 flat fee per trade and access to all ASX Shares and ETFs to invest in with GO Markets. Enjoy dedicated local customer support, a regulated Australian company for trading ASX Shares and ETFs. Plus, enjoy $0 Brokerage on your next 15 trades! (T&Cs apply).

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    Idle Cash

    Small trade brokerage
    Monthly fee
    $5.50
    $0.00

    Receive interest on your uninvested cash. Deposit over USD/AUD 5,000 to start receiving 1.5% return; 2.25% return on over AUD 50,000; Up to 3.25% return on over USD 50,000. Mozo special offer for new users only: Get USD 50 fractional shares plus USD 25 Tesla shares with a cumulative net deposit of min. AUD 500 within 7 days of the first account opening. T&Cs apply.

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    ASX Shares

    Small trade brokerage
    Monthly fee
    $0.00
    $0.00

    Join the world’s leading social trading platform, trusted by 30 million users worldwide. Invest in stocks, crypto, ETFs and more - all in one place. Hone your financial skills with a $100K virtual demo account.

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