For the first-time investor, the share market can be daunting. But with savings interest rates dwindling in line with a record-low cash rate, more Aussies are turning to shares to boost their returns.
Half (49%) of Australians, an estimated 9.5 million people, now own shares.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a surge in first-time share investors.
We surveyed a nationally representative group of 1,018 Australians in February 2020 which revealed 13% of Australian adults, an estimated 2.5 million people, were new to share trading during the pandemic.
One in five (21%) of Australians, an estimated 4 million people, bought shares during the pandemic but also owned them previously.
Leaving 15% of Australians who were already share traders, but did not put more money into shares during the pandemic.
Finder has taken a deeper look into which Aussies are currently investing in shares.
We surveyed a nationally representative 1,007 Australians in July 2020 and compared it to 1,047 Australians in November 2019 to get an understanding of the reasons they have or would invest in a company's stocks or shares
Why Aussies are investing
|Response||Proportion of Aussies|
|It delivers a good return on investment||41%|
|Build up my retirement fund||26%|
|A company was/is consistently growing||24%|
|Savings interest rates are poor||22%|
|A company's share price was/is dropping so I wanted to invest while it was cheaper||19%|
|Investing is more accessible now through apps||17%|
|I like the product(s) that the company sells||14%|
|A financial planner suggested/suggesting it||14%|
|A friend/family member told/telling me it was a good investment||12%|
|The company has been in the news||4%|
|I like the owner/CEO||4%|
Our survey shows that Gen Z (those aged 25 and younger) tend to find investing the least intimidating and are more likely to give stocks a go than other generations, followed closely by Gen Y (those aged 26-40).
Here is a breakdown of the percentage of each generation that would consider investing in stocks and shares.
|Generation||Plan on investing|
Reasons different generations invest
|Gen Z||Gen Y||Gen X||Baby Boomers|
|It delivers a good return on investment||46%||45%||45%||30%|
|A company was/is consistently growing||29%||29%||22%||18%|
|Build up my retirement fund||25%||27%||31%||19%|
|I like the product(s) that the company sells||20%||18%||11%||11%|
|A friend/family member told/telling me it was a good investment||21%||16%||9%||7%|
|A financial planner suggested/suggesting it||24%||14%||12%||10%|
|Savings interest rates are poor||22%||29%||19%||18%|
|Investing is more accessible now through apps||27%||28%||10%||4%|
|A company's share price was/is dropping so I wanted to invest while it was cheaper||33%||23%||15%||10%|
|I like the owner/CEO||8%||4%||4%||1%|
|The company has been in the news||6%||6%||3%||1%|
|Other (Please Specify)||0%||1%||4%|
Not surprisingly, ROI (return on investment) or plainly, making money, was the number one reason that all generations invest. Less predictable were the secondary reasons that draw the different age groups to the market.
- Gen Z: That a company's share price was cheaper than normal is the second most important factor behind ROI (33%)
- Gen Y: Most concerned with poor savings rates and that a company was/is growing (29%)
- Gen X: Most concerned with building up their retirement fund (31%)
- Baby Boomers: Secondary reason for investing is to build their retirement fund as well (19%)
There's a bit of a gender gap when it comes to investing, with women being less keen than men to try it out. We asked Aussies about investing in shares and 74% of men said they would consider it, but only 62% of women said they'd be keen.
|Would consider investing in shares||Would not invest in shares|
Men are more likely to invest than women in every generation, but the divide is lessening with each passing generation.
From Baby Boomers to Gen Z the divide has narrowed from 13% to 8%.
And the gap is even more pronounced when you look at how many more Aussies are considering investing now versus November 2019. With the exception of Aussie Gen Y women, every generation and gender says they are more likely to consider investing now versus 2019.
Share trading insights from the Finder app
Anonymised insights from the Finder app – which tracks user spending, hunts down savings and sends alerts – found a spike in share trading in August 2020 compared to July 2020, and an overall increase when compared to a year ago:
- In July, we saw a huge drop in investing, compared to June. However, August saw this number start to climb as more money was spent on investing as compared to July 2020.
- The average spend per investor on sharing trading jumped from $873 in July to $1,161 in August.
- The average spend per transaction has also risen, from $175 in July to $209 in August.
- Spending on share trading not only rose in August 2020 comparative to the month before, it is also significantly higher than it was a year ago.
- Compared to a year ago, spend on share trading is nearly 48% higher than the average spend of $786 in August 2019. The average spend per transaction also increased, from $183 in August 2019 to $209 in August 2020.
- The massive spikes we see in March and May were likely a result of a slumping ASX and many investors trying to take advantage while prices were low.
Tips when buying shares in Australia
Want to get more out of your online share trading? Keep the following tips in mind when buying shares online:
- Do your homework. Making informed trading decisions is crucial to the success of your investments. Research the financial health and growth prospects of companies by poring over annual reports, keeping an eye out for company alerts, reading share prospectuses and accessing research reports.
- Stay up to date with the Australian economy. Keep an eye on the health of the Australian economy, Reserve Bank interest rate decisions, government policy changes, levels of investor confidence, exchange rates and the performance of share markets in Australia and overseas. All of these can influence when is and is not a good time for you to invest.
- Start with blue chip companies. One of the safest options for anyone starting out in the share market is to invest in blue chip companies. These are Australia's top 50 companies, as listed on the S&P/ASX 50, and are typically well-established companies. They usually offer the best chance for minimising your risk and providing steady returns.
- What about speculative shares? Speculative companies are not in the top 100 Australian companies and have a shorter history doing business. Some investors are attracted to buying shares in these companies because they offer the potential for large returns, but be aware that they also have the potential to suffer large losses.
- Buy what you know. Rather than diving in at the deep end and investing in a company that operates in a field you have little or no understanding of, start with industries and businesses you have some sort of background knowledge of.
- Diversify. If you want to minimise your exposure to risk, diversify your portfolio across a range of different industries. If you buy shares across five or six industries instead of just one or two, you can be better protected against losses if one particular industry experiences a sharp downturn.
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