Swiss investors are relatively well-heeled. But how many of them actually trade hands-on? Independent online comparison service moneyland.ch conducted an online survey using market research firm Ipsos. Participants were asked whether they traded and if so, what types of assets and securities they traded.
The result: One-fifth of adults between the ages of 18 and 74 have bought securities or other traded investment vehicles at least once (via online trading platforms, for example). Among the 20% of the adults who engage in trading, Swiss stocks are by far the most widely-used investment vehicle: 54% of traders invest in Swiss stocks to varying extents. European stocks are the second most popular investment vehicle (34% of traders), followed by investment funds (26%), U.S. stocks (21%), Swiss bonds (17%), bitcoin (15%), ETFs (13%), structured products (12%), forex (11%), foreign bonds (9%), altcoins (9%), options (7%) and CFDs (3%).
Most Swiss investors are relatively passive, and do not trade securities and investment products frequently. “Day traders – who trade forex, CFDs, options and other investments on a daily basis – are scarce in the risk-averse Swiss investment scene,” states moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz.
Trading is a guy thing
The facts do not lie: Trading stocks and other securities is notably more popular among men than among women. 29% of men between the ages of 18 and 74 years old have already bought securities or other actively-traded investment products at some point in their lives, compared to just 11% of women. The frequency with which traders buy securities is also higher among men than it is among women in practically all categories.
German-speaking Swiss more likely to trade than their French-speaking compatriots
22% of adults in German-speaking Switzerland have already traded securities or other trading products, compared to just 17% of adults in French-speaking Switzerland. German-speaking Swiss also invest more frequently in most investment vehicle categories. 13% of German-speaking traders have traded forex at least once, compared to 5% of French-speaking traders. Investing in bitcoin is also significantly more popular in German-speaking Switzerland than it is in French-speaking Switzerland. But there are categories in which French-speaking traders surpass their German-speaking counterparts: Swiss stocks, Swiss bonds and investment funds are somewhat more popular in French-speaking Switzerland.
Urban dwellers trade more often
22% of urban dwellers have traded at least once, compared to just 16% of rural dwellers. High-risk investment vehicles like structured products and bitcoin are more popular among urban traders than among rural traders. Swiss stocks, on the other hand, are far more popular among rural dwellers: 65% of rural traders have bought shares in Swiss stocks at least once, compared to 51% of urban traders.
Young adults prefer cryptocurrencies, older adults prefer stocks
19% of adults aged 18 to 25 have bought securities or some other form of actively-traded investment product at least once, compared to 21% of adults aged 26 to 49 and 20% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old.
Aged-based differences are more noticeable between individual investment categories. The rule of thumb: The older the trader, the higher the chance that they have purchased shares in stocks. For example, 67% of adults aged 50 to 74 years old have bought shares in Swiss stocks, compared to 50% of adults aged 26 to 49 and 28% of adults aged 18 to 25 years old.
The exact opposite applies to cryptocurrency investments, which are the least popular in the oldest age group. Altcoins are most popular among young adults: 15% of adults aged 18 to 25 have invested in altcoins.
The wealthier the trader, the more frequent the trading
There is a clear correlation between personal wealth and readiness to purchase securities and other investment products. Only 8% of individuals with personal wealth of less than 20,000 Swiss francs have bought securities or other investment products and just 16% of individuals with personal wealth of between 20,000 and 50,000 francs have engaged in trading. By contrast, trading is practiced by 29% of individuals with a personal net worth of between 100,000 and 300,000 francs, 38% of those with between 300,000 and 500,000 of personal wealth, 51% of those with personal wealth of between 500,000 and 1 million francs, and 68% of millionaires.
54% of traders – 11% of the adult population – purchase shares in Swiss stocks (with varying frequency). That makes Swiss stocks the most popular investment vehicle in Switzerland. Of the Swiss population that engages in trading, 13% have only bought shares in Swiss stocks several times over many years, 21% buy these several times per year, 7% buy these once a month, 8% buy these several times per month, 1% buy these once a week, 4% buy these several times a week, and 0% buy these on a daily basis.
34% of traders – 7% of the adult population – stated that they buy shares in European stocks. That makes European stocks the second most popular investment vehicle among Swiss traders, after Swiss stocks. 5% of traders only purchase European shares several times over multiple-year periods. 13% buy these several times per year, 4% buy them once per month, 6% buy them several times per month, 3% buy them once a week, 3% buy these several times per week, and 0% buy them daily.
21% of traders – 4% of the adult population – buy shares in U.S. stocks, with varying frequency. That makes U.S. stocks less popular than European stocks and investment funds. 4% of traders only buy American stocks a few times over multiple years, while 6% buy them several times per year, 3% buy them once a month, 3% buy them several times per month, 2% buy them once a week, 3% buy them several times per week and 0% buy them every day.
17% of traders – 4% of the adult population – stated that they buy Swiss bonds, with varying frequency. 5% of traders only buy Swiss bonds several times over many years, 6% buy them several times per year, 2% buy them every month, 3% buy them many times per month, 2% buy them once a week, 1% buy them several times per week, and 0% buy them daily. Foreign bonds are significantly less popular. Only 9% of traders buy foreign bonds.
26% of traders – 5% of the adult population – buy shares in investment funds (with varying frequency). That makes investment funds the third most popular investment vehicle, after Swiss and European stocks.
8% of traders only buy investment fund shares occasionally over multiple-year periods, 9% buy these several times per year, 6% buy these once a month, 2% buy these several times per month, 1% buy these once a week, 0% buy these several times per week and 0% buy them daily. Investment fund shares are traded less frequently than shares in stocks. This is to be expected because investment funds handle all trading in the individual assets making up their portfolios, freeing their shareholders from having to be actively involved.
13% of traders – 3% of the adult population – state that they buy shares in exchange traded funds (ETFs). Exchange traded funds – passively-managed investment funds which attempt to replicate the performance of indexes buy investing in the assets which underly those indexes, are less popular among Swiss investors than actively-managed investment funds. That is somewhat surprising, considering the higher administrative costs of actively-managed funds.
2% of traders only buy ETF shares a few times over multiple-year periods. 2% buy these several times per year, 6% by them once a month, 1% buy them several times per month, 2% buy these once a week, 1% buy them several times per week, and 0% buy these on a daily basis.
11% of traders stated that they invest in forex. 1% buy forex several times per year, 1% buy forex every month, 2% buy it several times per month, 4% buy it once a week, and 1% buy it several times per week. Forex is the most popular investment vehicle among day traders: 2% of traders buy forex every day.
Options, structured products and CFDs
12% of traders stated that they invest (with varying frequency) in structured products. 7% of traders buy options. Options trading is carried out relatively frequently among traders which use options. 1% of total traders trade options on a daily basis.
Contracts for difference (CFDs) are not widely used by Swiss traders. Only 3% of traders make use of CFDs. Those who do use CFDs do so very frequently. 2% of traders use CFDs several times per month, while 1% use CFDs on a daily basis.
Bitcoin and altcoins
Bitcoin is surprisingly popular among Swiss traders. 15% of traders have already bought bitcoin. 3% of traders have bought bitcoin several times over several years, 4% buy it several times per year, 3% buy it once a month, 2% buy it several times per month, 3% buy it once a week, 1% buy it several times per week, 0% buy it every day.
Altcoins are less popular: Just 9% of traders have traded cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin.
Beware of high brokerage fees
“Many Swiss traders are not aware of the fact that there are major differences in the brokerage fees charged by different banks and brokers,” says Benjamin Manz. Comparing fees and charges before settling on a trading platform is crucial to optimized trading. The interactive and unbiased trading platform comparison on moneyland.ch accounts for all fees and charges and lets you evaluate costs based on your individual trading needs.
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