One in 10 Brits has started investing since the start of the pandemic while a quarter of new investors have started as a result of having more time.
The past year has provided many people with extra time thanks to the various lockdowns, furloughing and working from home. While many others, particularly younger people, used this to turn their hands to baking, others have turned to the stock market.
One in 10 Brits has started investing for the first time since the start of the pandemic and a quarter (24 per cent) of new investors say they have started as a result of having more time, according to a new survey.
The new research, from Halifax Share Dealing, also found 16 per cent of young people aged 18 to 24 took their first steps into stocks and shares since the start of the pandemic.
Having more time was cited alongside having more disposable cash also being a factor for almost one in four (17 per cent) of Brits.
Contrary to the image of legions of Reddit users piling into so-called ‘meme stocks’, the most popular investment options were bonds (16 per cent) followed by stocks and shares (14 per cent) and trusts (10 per cent).
Out of those who had extra money, staying at home over the last 12 months has also influenced existing investors. Almost one in five (19 per cent) have increased their investments since the start of the pandemic, and the same per cent of investors have diversified their investment products since the start of the pandemic.
Despite this boost in engagement with the stock market, one of the biggest barriers for those who have not started is being scared of losing money, which is putting off more than a third of people (39 per cent), up 6 per cent from last year. This is followed by not knowing enough about the stocks and shares market (34 per cent), up 5 per cent from last year.
The research has also highlighted a gender gap in attitudes, with more women than men hesitant to dabble in stocks and shares. Almost half (49 per cent) of women said they were too scared of losing money to invest versus 30 per cent of men. When it comes to not knowing enough about the stocks and shares market, more women (42 per cent) than men (25 per cent) said this is a barrier.
Manuel Pardavila-Gonzalez, Managing Director, Halifax Share Dealing, says the bank saw record numbers of trades on its platform throughout lockdown as people turned to the stock market
“Lockdown has been a challenging experience for many households, however, there have been some positives such as the opportunity to save money on day-to-day spending and to think more about long-term finances,” he said.
“Although no investment is risk-free, this spike in trades suggests that people with more spare time and cash have used it to start dipping their toe into the world of investment or increase their portfolio," he added.