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Online trading - statistics & facts

Online trading – otherwise known as ‘eTrading’ – has recently become a hot topic owing to how it allows normal, everyday people (commonly termed ‘retail investors’) to influence financial markets in a way not thought previously possible. Much of the attention around online investing in 2021 comes from how retail investors were able to deliberately increase share prices that many large ‘institutional investors’ expected would fall, and had therefore bet against via a process known as short selling. The most famous examples of this were with the share price of video game retailer Gamestop, and cinema chain AMC entertainment. In both cases, retail investors primarily using online trading apps coordinated via social media with the explicit aim of increasing the share price of these companies, deliberately causing losses to institutional investors who had ‘shorted’ stock of these companies.

History of online trading

Despite only recently becoming a topic of interest, online trading has in fact been around since the 1980s. Electronic trading platform E*Trade was founded in 1982, and made their first online trade in 1983, while TD Ameritrade created a telephone push-button method for quotes and orders in 1988. Both companies have endured, and remain two of the most popular online trading platforms globally. What has really changed in recent years is the level of convenience for retail investors, with these online services being faster and existing as smartphone apps (rather than needing to be accessed from a desktop computer connected to a telephone line). While the underlying concept of eTrading has not changed, the technologies and business models which underpin current eTrading platforms have made it easer than ever before for retail investors to access financial markets, leading to forecasts of high levels of growth in the online trading market over the next decade.

What are the top online trading apps?

Currently, the most downloaded eTrading app globally is RobinHood. While far from the first eTrading app, RobinHood is best known through how it ‘disrupted’ the industry by providing retail investors easy access to commission free trading. This in turn forced other online providers to heavily reduce their prices, thereby creating a new industry standard. However, RobinHood is only available in the United States, meaning different apps are popular in other markets. For example, Berlin-based app Trade Republic has the most monthly average users of eTrading apps in Germany, while Israeli app eToro is the most downloaded online trading app in the United Kingdom. The apps available in other markets, such as China and Japan, are different yet again, making the global eTrading market extremely fragmented - despite the high level of technological interconnectivity which underpins it.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Online trading" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

United States

Europe

Other interesting statistics

Online trading - statistics & facts

Online trading – otherwise known as ‘eTrading’ – has recently become a hot topic owing to how it allows normal, everyday people (commonly termed ‘retail investors’) to influence financial markets in a way not thought previously possible. Much of the attention around online investing in 2021 comes from how retail investors were able to deliberately increase share prices that many large ‘institutional investors’ expected would fall, and had therefore bet against via a process known as short selling. The most famous examples of this were with the share price of video game retailer Gamestop, and cinema chain AMC entertainment. In both cases, retail investors primarily using online trading apps coordinated via social media with the explicit aim of increasing the share price of these companies, deliberately causing losses to institutional investors who had ‘shorted’ stock of these companies.

History of online trading

Despite only recently becoming a topic of interest, online trading has in fact been around since the 1980s. Electronic trading platform E*Trade was founded in 1982, and made their first online trade in 1983, while TD Ameritrade created a telephone push-button method for quotes and orders in 1988. Both companies have endured, and remain two of the most popular online trading platforms globally. What has really changed in recent years is the level of convenience for retail investors, with these online services being faster and existing as smartphone apps (rather than needing to be accessed from a desktop computer connected to a telephone line). While the underlying concept of eTrading has not changed, the technologies and business models which underpin current eTrading platforms have made it easer than ever before for retail investors to access financial markets, leading to forecasts of high levels of growth in the online trading market over the next decade.

What are the top online trading apps?

Currently, the most downloaded eTrading app globally is RobinHood. While far from the first eTrading app, RobinHood is best known through how it ‘disrupted’ the industry by providing retail investors easy access to commission free trading. This in turn forced other online providers to heavily reduce their prices, thereby creating a new industry standard. However, RobinHood is only available in the United States, meaning different apps are popular in other markets. For example, Berlin-based app Trade Republic has the most monthly average users of eTrading apps in Germany, while Israeli app eToro is the most downloaded online trading app in the United Kingdom. The apps available in other markets, such as China and Japan, are different yet again, making the global eTrading market extremely fragmented - despite the high level of technological interconnectivity which underpins it.

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