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Consumers Buy into Digital Investing

Investors choose desktop over mobile for researching, making and managing investments

February 20, 2014

US retail investors are increasingly turning to a wide array of digital avenues to help them research, make and manage their investments. And financial marketers are using a mix of targeting and content to reach them, according to a new eMarketer report, “Digital Investors: Drawing From a Portfolio of Growing Online and Mobile Options.”

The web has cemented itself as a top source for business and finance information. In Scottrade’s 2013 “American Investor Study,” finance/news websites were the top information resource for investors (52%), followed by financial advisors and brokers (40%).

comScore calculated that 172.0 million US internet users accessed business- or finance-related content in September 2013—approximately 76% of the internet population and a 6% year-over-year increase.

US Internet Users Who Access Business and Finance Content, Sep 2012-Sep 2013 (millions)

Most business or finance content is still accessed via desktop instead of mobile, according to comScore research from August 2013. Of total time US internet users spent online with that type of content, 61% came from the desktop, with the remainder from mobile.

comScore found that from November 2012 to November 2013, online trading sites averaged 10.8 million visitors per month. Traffic spikes at the end of 2012 going into 2013 correlated with stock market dips that occurred during the same period.

Visits to Online Trading Sites by US Internet Users, Nov 2012-Nov 2013 (millions)

Just like with researching investments, making and managing them remains primarily a desktop activity. In Q3 2012 Forrester Research polling, 49% of investors checked their investment account balances via desktop, while 3% used a mobile phone. Desktop use was prevalent for most other investment communications, except for those with customer service and financial advisors.

As people bring mobile into their investing workflow, they’re becoming comfortable with placing trades via tablet or smartphone. According to Celent, mobile accounted for about 1% to 2% of all trades in early 2011, but by October 2012, that reached between 5% and 8%.

Aite Group predicted that during the next five years, mobile trading would continue to grow at the expense of web- and desktop-based trading platforms. The firm estimated that 9% of daily average revenue trades in 2013 came from mobile.

The full report, “Digital Investors: Drawing From a Portfolio of Growing Online and Mobile Options,” also answers these key questions:

  • What is the profile of today’s digital investor?
  • How are consumers using online and mobile platforms to research, make and manage their investments?
  • What digital tactics are financial marketers using to target and reach investors?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.


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