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Retail investor research 1.32 MB

This report presents the findings of research into Australian retail investors’ motivations, attitudes and behaviours. The results provide a point-in-time snapshot of the period following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

SEC Newgate conducted research on behalf of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to explore retail investor motivations, attitudes and behaviours.

The study used a mixed method approach involving a preliminary, qualitative research phase, followed by a nationally representative online survey of 1,053 Australian retail investors aged 18 and over. Fieldwork was undertaken in August and November 2021.

The specific target audience for this research was active Australian retail investors who had made at least one transaction (trading securities, derivatives, or cryptocurrency) since March 2020. A cut-off point of March 2020 was chosen because this represented when COVID-19 first had a significant impact in Australia. There were three key participant segments based on their period of time investing:

  1. recent investors: those who started investing during or after March 2020 (i.e. since COVID-19 first had a major impact in Australia);
  2. moderately experienced investors: those who started investing before March 2020 but less than five years ago; and
  3. most experienced investors: those who had been investing for five years or more.

Investing behaviours - key findings:

  • Overall, Australian shares were the most common product type held by investors
  • Most investors held fewer than five different product types in their portfolios
  • Estimated total investment portfolio value varied by years of investing experience and other factors
  • On average, investment portfolios tended to make up around half of investors’ total wealth, with Australian shares, cryptocurrencies and residential investment properties dominating individual portfolios
  • Many investors tended to check up on their investments frequently
  • Cryptocurrencies, Australian shares, international shares, and gold or silver were reportedly being bought more often than they were being sold post March 2020
  • Over four in ten of all experienced investors (moderately experienced and the most experienced investors) (44%) believed that COVID-19 had an impact on their trading frequency
  • Investments were most commonly funded from personal income and savings



Publication Details
Access Rights Type:
Report 735