New accounts and trading activity soar

Bence András Rózsa

2021-03-08

 

BrokerChooser’s analyst team is constantly on the lookout for emerging trends in the retail brokerage world.

We looked at some of the publicly available data on client growth at retail brokerages. Read on to learn what we’ve found.

 

Global client growth is driven by US brokerages

 

Client numbers globally show a massive 200% growth (i.e. a tripling in numbers) on average in the US and in the European Union for the first half of 2020 compared to one year earlier. Looking at it by region, it’s clear that this growth is being driven mostly by US brokerages, which saw a whopping 357% increase on average.

Source: publicly available financial reports, BrokerChooser

 

Huge differences in profit-making capability

 

Net revenue and operating profit did not grow at US brokerages. Revenue grew significantly at CFD and forex brokers globally, less so at stockbrokers:

 

Source: publicly available financial reports, BrokerChooser

 

Trading activity went through the roof

 

2021 started with much higher user numbers across the board. On top of this, trading activity was significantly higher in January compared even to last March, when COVID-19 hit the markets: there was a significant, 117% growth in the number of executed orders in this period.

 

Demand for Robinhood competitors skyrocketed

 

Outages on Robinhood coupled with trading restrictions at several brokerages didn’t stop retail investors from trying to become involved in the market frenzy. This is clearly seen in the fact that demand for some of Robinhood's main competitors shot up after the platform suffered outages. Our data shows that Webull, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and E*TRADE were the biggest winners of the customer exodus from Robinhood.

The following table shows how traffic for specific Robinhood competitor-related content grew on BrokerChooser, measured in site visits:

Source: BrokerChooser

 

Other areas of interest to research

 

We’ve seen at some brokers that there is a strong correlation between lockdowns and an increase in trading activity. In the future, we might look into how these play together.

 

You can download our findings here.

 

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