Online trading penetration in the United States and retail traders' trading device preferences are rapidly changing

Professional and mobile trading set to increase in influence and size until 2018, says Aite Group

Boston, January 17th, 2014 –

New research from Aite Group in its report, US Active-Trader Priorities 2013: Professional and Mobile Trading, sizes US retail trading assets at approximately US$2.8 trillion—US$1.8 trillion from non-professional retail traders and the remainder from professional traders holding personal retail trading accounts.

Aite Group’s study clarifies the size of the US retail brokerage market and determines how much further it has to go in penetrating households. It also reveals that retail brokers must understand and cater to professional traders' needs. Brokerage firms that can accurately understand their most valuable retail audiences' assets and trading activities look set to reap the greatest rewards. 

Research by Aite Group shows that close to a quarter of U.S. adults with access to the Internet are retail online traders and an additional 6% are professional traders, together equivalent to a self-directed US trading population of more than 54 million adults. A very large percentage of professional traders report trading their own funds as retail traders in addition to their responsibilities managing other individuals' accounts, something that blurs the line between those who trade in professional markets and those who trade in retail markets.

Web- and desktop-based trading platforms are also expected to see their contribution to daily average revenue trades wane sharply by 2018. US brokers expect to see the contribution of mobile trading to rise as a result of a new generation of traders adopting mobile technology for everyday activities and specialized endeavors such as online trading.

"To properly serve the segments of the US retail trading market that trade the most often and have the most assets, brokerage firms should understand and act upon the hot buttons of traders under the age of 35, not those of the 40-somethings who today receive inordinate attention," says Javier Paz, senior analyst in Wealth Management at Aite Group.

"Catering to an under-35-year-old audience means that brokerage firms must pay more attention to delivering solutions, content, and messages for this group as well as using more of the latest social media, mobile trading apps, and spokespeople in this age group."