eToro: New report shows retail investors cut back on investments to cover household bills but sentiment is more bullish for Q4
One in five (18%) retail investors are reducing the amount they invest to help cover the cost of rising household bills, but sentiment for Q4 appears more bullish, according to the latest ‘Retail Investor Beat’ from social investment network, eToro.
The study, a quarterly survey of 10,000 retail investors across 13 countries and 3 continents, found that two in five (41%) reduced the amount of money going into investments in the last three months. This is mirrored by a decline in retail investor confidence which has fallen by 17 points over the last twelve months, from 81% in Q3 2021 to 64% in Q3 this year.
Whilst one in five (18%) of all retail investors are cutting back on investments to pay for rising household bills, 16% are doing so to build up emergency savings and 12% are holding onto cash, ready to invest when markets start to rebound.
Despite worsening market conditions eating into confidence, those looking to reduce the amount they invest in Q4 is expected to ease to 31%, with 69% either planning to invest the same amount of money or more over the next three months – suggesting retail investors are feeling less bearish about Q4.
“Retail investors are facing a cocktail of harsh market conditions, rising bills and more punishing mortgage rates so it’s little wonder that many have switched priorities,” comments Ben Laidler, Global Market Strategist at eToro.
“Confidence has unsurprisingly taken a hit in the last year, yet it’s admirable that the majority remain positive, something which speaks to the resilience of this group. There may also be a silver lining to the drop in investor confidence as it can be an important contrarian indicator that often signals we are near a market bottom. If confidence levels are already very low then investors are less likely to be surprised by further bad news, and even a little bit of good news can go a very long way in driving renewed market interest.”
Inflation remains the biggest concern for retail investors for the second quarter in a row, with 24% citing it as the main risk to their portfolios, followed by the state of the global economy (22%).
Given these risks, many are pivoting to a more defensive stance, with those holding cash jumping from 26% to 46% in a year, while the number of investors holding energy stocks, traditionally a hedge against inflation, is set to rise 4% in the next three months (to 51%). Meanwhile, those retail investors with money allocated to the financial services and industrial sectors (both typically cyclical and non-defensive) are set to drop from 65% to 57%, and 45% to 41% respectively.
The data also shows that the majority of retail investors have a long-term mindset, with two thirds (63%) looking to hold an individual investment for a time frame of years or decades, whilst just 3% identify as day traders. Supporting this, a third of respondents highlight securing long term financial security as their main goal for investing.
“Maintaining a long term perspective gives you a huge advantage in volatile markets and could give this group an edge over institutional investors. It is also a very different picture to the one often painted of retail investors, as FOMO-driven speculators, or dumb retail money buying high and selling low.
“The explosion of retail investors in 2021 transformed the status of this ever-growing section of the market. Yet misperceptions persist of retail investors as short term day traders who don’t understand the markets. This clearly isn’t the case, with most holding onto assets for years, whilst also responding to market conditions when necessary by adjusting their portfolios,” adds Laidler.
Find out more about the report here.