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Investment apps have continued to gain popularity, especially among retail investors. Amid the growth in popularity, cryptocurrency apps are taking center stage.

Data acquired by Finbold indicates that cryptocurrency apps dominated the share of the United States’ top 50 asset management apps during the first half of 2021 at 51%, representing 2.6 times growth from last year’s figure of 19%. Interestingly, crypto apps surpassed stock trading apps for the first time in 2021.

This year, the stock trading apps had a share of 43%, while the figure was 68% last year. Elsewhere, advisory apps accounted for 5%, while last year, the figure was 9%. Forex stood at 1% in 2021, while in 2020, the downloads accounted for 4%.

One of the key attractions in the US seems to have been the provision of commission free services and what Finbold calls ‘viral expertise marketing.’ This has helped cryptocurrency trading to become more mainstream. It should be noted, however, that many investors are not taking large bets in crypto – data from other studies including UK and European surveys indicate there are a lot of first time crypto traders in the market, but stakes are only a few hundred pounds.

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In 2019 the share of stock apps was 71%, followed by crypto at 19%, while advisory accounted for 7%. Elsewhere, forex had a share of 3%. In 2018, stock apps held the top spot at 68%, while crypto was at 20%. In the third spot, advisory apps accounted for 10.89%, with forex accounting for 1.98%.

Elsewhere, between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021, the U.S. quarterly downloads of top 50 asset management apps surged 152% for both iOS and Android operating systems. During the second quarter of last year, Apps Store downloads stood at 9 million while Google Play had 4 million. In 2021, AppStore and Google Play recorded 18 million and 15 million, respectively.

2020 Q1 recorded the highest quarterly download over the past year, with the App Store accounting for 21 million while Android had a share of 14 million.

Pandemic drives shift in investment apps

The report highlights some of the drivers behind stock apps surpassing the stock apps downloads. According to the research report:

“The data indicates that stock trading apps have been dominating the asset management space in recent years. However, the significant shift from stock apps to crypto apps was partly due to the coronavirus pandemic. During the first half of last year, the stock market crashed, with most shares trading at their historical lows. On the other hand, cryptocurrencies remained resilient and began building momentum towards the end of 2020, culminating in the recent bull run.”

Furthermore, the pandemic also increased interest in financial investments, with the report noting that: “More people also had time to learn and take part in stock trading and crypto investment following the pandemic lockdown. Furthermore, increasing financial literacy has also played a key role in surging interest in the apps.”

More people are opting for investment apps over their ability to simplify purchasing digital currencies and stocks. Furthermore, most apps enable users to consolidate their diverse portfolios.

The dynamics of lockdowns which have seen millions of new investors confined to their homes and following market moves for the first time on social media should not be underestimated.

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Please note this article does not constitute investment advice. Investors are encouraged to do their own research beforehand or consult a professional advisor.

Graeme Andrew

Graeme Coles-Andrew

Graeme is Head of Technology at the Armchair Trader. He has worked in online financial investment publishing since 2000 as a website developer, advertising operations manager, data scientist and all-round go-to guy for online technical solutions.

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