Micro-investing in Australia: what’s driving take-up & how do major investment platforms compare?

Micro-investing in Australia: what’s driving take-up & how do major investment platforms compare?

In early June, cryptocurrency exchange Swyftx and equities trading platform Superhero announced plans to relaunch as a single platform in early 2023 – a move which would allow some 800,000 customers to access cryptocurrencies, traditional equities and superannuation holdings in one interface

The merger follows reports of the number of micro-investing accounts in Australia more than doubling over the past calendar year, after an earlier jump in both first-time and active online traders during the first year of the pandemic

Indeed, latest data from YouGov has found that half of Australians who currently use investment apps started doing so only within the last two years – after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But how aware are Australians of the considerable variety of investment apps/platforms available today – and are the most well-known ones also the most used? We also ask what attracts Australians to use investment apps/platforms, and what deters others from signing up? 

How do popular investment apps/platforms in Australia vary in consumer awareness and usage? 

RealTime Omnibus research by YouGov in March 2022 found that CommSec Pocket enjoys the highest awareness among major investing apps in Australia – over two in five Australians who know of at least one investment platform say they have heard of it (43%). 

About a third of Australians are also aware of Raiz (35%) and Spaceship (32%). Meanwhile, a quarter have heard of Superhero (24%), and around a fifth of Swyftx (22%), SelfWealth (21%) and Stake (21%). 

The top three most-heard-of investment platforms are also the most-used – though not in exactly the same order. About one-fifth of Australians who are on investing apps say they currently use Spaceship (22%), CommSec Pocket (21%), Swyftx (19%) or Raiz (19%).

Age differences in awareness of various investing apps/platforms

When analysed by age, the three most well-known platforms – CommSec Pocket, Raiz and Spaceship – take first to third place respectively among Australians aged 18-24, 35-49 and 50-64.  

But among 65+ year-olds, awareness of Spaceship drops to fifth place (9%), after Swftyx (17%) and SelfWeath (14%). However, among 25-34 year-olds, Spaceship (44%) is the most well-known platform, and is slightly ahead of CommSec Pocket (42%) and Raiz (40%).

What attracts Australians to use investment apps/platforms?

When Australians who currently use investing apps were asked why they started doing so, the ability to invest smaller amounts of money emerged as the most cited reason (45%). 

Just under two in five users also say the ease of using investing apps (38%) and the ability of investing apps to help them reach their financial goals (38%) are what kickstarted their use of such investment platforms.

Over a third of current users also point to the low costs of using investing apps (35%) and low bank interest rates (34%) as relevant drivers.  

Notably, Spaceship users are significantly more likely to have started using investing apps due to the low costs required (58%).  

Men are also more likely than women to cite low bank interest rates as a reason for why they started using investing apps (39% vs 27%). 

What deters Australians from using investment apps/platforms?

When Australians who are not currently use investing apps were asked why, insufficient knowledge about investing emerged as the most cited reason (34%).  

More than a quarter of non-users also say lacking sufficient finances for investing (31%) and worries about losing money due to bad investments (29%) are reasons deterring them from using investing apps.

When analysed by age, not knowing enough about investing is the top reason why Australians aged 18-34 are not using investing apps (40-45%), whereas worries about losing money due to bad investments most deter Australians aged 35-64 (30-36%). Among Australians aged 65 years and older, however, not being able to afford investing activities is the most cited reason (52%).  

When analysed by gender, men are more likely than women to say a lack of interest (22% vs 11%) and preferring to invest in other ways (27% vs 14%) are reasons why they have not used investing apps. On the other hand, women are more likely than men to say insufficient knowledge about investing (43% vs 25%) and worries about losing money due to bad investments (39% vs 19%) are reasons why they have not used investing apps.

Rise of ‘finfluencers’: how far do they influence the investment decisions of Australians? Read our Part 2 article here.

Want a more granular understanding of the demographic and psychographic profile of current and potential retail investors in Australia? Get in touch with us today

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Methodology: YouGov RealTime Omnibus provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on 7 March 2022, with a nationally representative sample of 1,045 Australians (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender and region to be representative of all adults residing in Australia (18 years or older) and reflect the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) population estimates. Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.