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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    Live Account

    Small trade brokerage
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    Superhero Live Account is trading for everybody. Zero brokerage when purchase ETFs and $5 when you sell, plus traders can get started with a minimum investment of just $100.

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    Trading Account

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    Insights, recommendations and support for just $10 per trade under $1000. Get access to over 25 international markets. (See the CommSec page for details)

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    Classic

    Small trade brokerage
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    CMC Markets Invest offer a powerful web and mobile platforms & competitive pricing on thousands of instruments. Winner of a Mozo Experts Choice Award 2020 in the Casual Trader category^.

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    Classic

    Small trade brokerage
    Monthly fee
    $9.50
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    Self Wealth Classic has no hidden fees and Access live prices and market depth, currently free to all members. $9.50 flat brokerage fee. Winner of a Mozo Experts Choice Award 2020 in the Casual Trader category^.

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    Online Share Trading

    Silver

    Small trade brokerage
    Monthly fee
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    Open an HSBC Online Share Trading account by 31 Oct 2021 and HSBC will reimburse you up to $100 on your first 5 trades before 30 Nov 2021. Invest online with no hidden fees. T&Cs apply.

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