Middle-aged men finally no longer the only ones investing

While it isn’t news that people besides men aged 40 to 50 like to invest, new data from CommSec has shown that people in their 20s and 30s are now investing more than ever before, and are a growing market to watch. Investing over the internet has made owning shares and playing the stockmarket easier, cheaper and more fun. 

CommSec’s review of new direct investors in the sharemarket gives us a glimpse into the changing investment demographic in Australia.

Key findings include:

  • Over a third of Australian adults own shares directly
  • Around five per cent of Australians own international shares directly
  • Generation Y – 25-34-year-olds – are growing in number in the investment landscape, with 28 per cent of this demographic directly owning shares

The analysis examines data from two decades ago and covers share trading and economic developments, with the findings showing that online broking has really revolutionised not just share trading, but altered the types of people using these services.

In 1995, a fifth of all investors were under 35, but now just over half of CommSec’s new customers are under 35. This trend – for younger people to take on their own financial futures in a big way – is being seen across the board in financial services, where research has shown that younger people want to participate in financial markets of all kinds too, despite the very real barriers of a lack of financial knowledge and the requisite funds to play with. The reduction in barriers to entry to investing is continuing, with innovative products, services, and platforms being constantly developed and updated.

The rise of the smartphone as a fundamental tool of modern life has meant that using a phone or tablet to manage one's investments is now very easy, good-looking and functional beyond anything that has existed previously. Around 60 per cent of current online investors use their mobile device to monitor the market, trade, and transfer funds, and the CommSec platform has seen a quarter of logins and 13 per cent of daily trades now being done by mobile device. As apps improve and the veins of technology thread themselves further into the various portals, this number is likely to rise.

Recent numbers from an ASX share ownership report show that almost six million people own shares directly compared to almost two million in 1994. This is a profound increase in share ownership in Australia over two decades, with the gender balance also shifting – share ownership by women has increased to 27 per cent, and men to 38 per cent.