There’s an App for That

12/1/2021

Millennials have grown up with cell phones, easy internet access, and computers in every household.  Gen X investors had a mix of old school and modern technology. Millennials are used to being able to pull up information at a second’s notice, without the hassle of the card catalog or the Dewey Decimal system. Access to information has become faster and faster, with an increasing dependence on phones to access information. That is what brought about apps. Apps are a way for companies or organizations to have offerings and services, or games, available through an application that is downloaded onto an investor’s phone, with the interface optimized for a mobile device. 

This ease of access reduces the need for wealthy investors to always pull out their computer if they want to access information or review/execute investment decisions. These applications can often be the app for their primary financial advisor; however it can also be a different platform that they manage on their own.

Not surprisingly, Millennials are the largest adopters to the usage of apps for investing and trading, according to recent research from Spectrem Group. Over a quarter of Millennials use the app Stash for investing and trading, while 23 percent are using Robinhood. Gold Tracker is used by 20 percent of investors, which is interesting since that has a focus on precious metals and that would only be a segment of most investor’s portfolios. Seedrs is also used by 20 percent of Millennials for investing or trading. FeeX, Acorns and Gemini are the last investing and trading apps that are used by at least 10 percent of Millennials. Gen X is a bit slower to adopt the usage of apps for investing and trading, with 17 percent using Robinhood and Stash. Acorns, Gold Tracker, and FeeX are the other apps that at least 10 percent of Gen X investors are using for investing or trading.

Men and women also differ in the usage of apps for investing and trading, with men far more likely to use an app for investing or trading, while over a third of women indicate they do not use any app for investing or trading. They do however have an equal usage of Stash as their most commonly used app for trading or investing at 22 percent usage.

Wealth also plays a significant role in the usage of apps for investing and trading.. Over a third of investors at the highest levels of wealth use Stash for investing or trading. Overall, investors at higher levels of wealth are more likely to use apps for investing and trading, while 55 percent of investors with a net worth between $100K-$1MM do not use any app for investing or trading purposes.

Apps can provide easy access to information, resources, and platforms that previously used to only be available through a computer. This ease of access is allowing younger and younger investors the opportunity to invest with a very small initial investment. Only time will tell if the usage of these apps will continue, or new platforms and apps will take their place among the next generation that is starting to come of age.