scorecardIndian millennials are taking to the stock market, as the bored and young start driving markets worldwide
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Indian millennials are taking to the stock market, as the bored and young start driving markets worldwide

Hillary Hoffower   

Indian millennials are taking to the stock market, as the bored and young start driving markets worldwide
PolicyPolicy3 min read
  • Millennials in India are driving the country's stock market, Bloomberg reported.
  • They are likelier to take risks than their elders, departing from the asset investments typical in India.
  • Worldwide, young investors are shifting investing trends - and economies along with them.

Millennials in India might be changing the country's stock market.

Driven by quarantine boredom, many 20- and 30-something Indians have turned to stock trading during the pandemic, reported Bloomberg. The stock market rally and rise of trading apps and social media has lured these young investors, Bloomberg wrote, many of whom are day trading for the first time.

The influx of young investors is a similar story around the world, but an especially positive sign for India's economic development, as active investor accounts increased to a record 10.4 million in 2020. Only 3.7% of the country's 1.36 billion people invest in equities, per Bloomberg, compared to 12.7% in China and 55% in the US.

"India could easily equal China's market cap in the next five to 10 years because going forward, growth in India's market will probably be faster," emerging-market investor Mark Mobius told Bloomberg. "China, because of its size, will probably grow more slowly."

It also signals that internet adoption is extending to areas of the country beyond the big cities of Mumbai and New Delhi. Securities firm Angel Broking told Bloomberg that more than 50% of its new customers in its fourth quarter were from "smaller cities and towns."

Indian millennials are more likely to take market risks, a departure from other investors' traditional investments in bank deposits and physical assets like real estate and gold, the latter of which served as an "insurance policy and a retirement plan in a country that lacks robust social welfare systems or widespread access to formal credit," Bloomberg wrote.

This appetite for risk-taking is common in other markets' experience of millennial investing, though, pointing to a more volatile economy as younger participants join the stock market.

Millennials are driving big investing trends

Worldwide, the bored and young fueled a big shift in investing in 2020.

Bitcoin was buzzing, surpassing its previous peak from December 2017, a year when it had a "wild run," rising by more than 1,300% and going mainstream before tumbling the next year as it and other cryptocurrencies slumped.

But substantial millennial interest brought the hype alive again. The conditions of the pandemic and resulting search for an investing hedge against potential inflation, more widespread availability on PayPal and Square, and new Wall Street regulators, could be contributing to its rally.

Stock-trading startup Robinhood also saw explosive growth during the pandemic thanks to a new generation of novice traders flocking to the stock, options, and cryptocurrency platform, Insider's Graham Rapier reported. The free-trading investing app, whose average user is 33 years old, added 3 million users to its current total of 13 million this year alone. The company even raised $200 million in funding in December.

But the boom hasn't been entirely positive: It's triggered outages and angry customers, and amateur traders have lost thousands of dollars through high-volume day trades.

More recently, a group of day-trading Redditors from The WallStreetBets forum used the platform to incite frenzied trading in the shares of GameStop in response to hedge funds "shorting" the stock. Their trades sent GameStop soaring, causing an estimated $19 billion of losses for short sellers in the company as of January 29.

As the young come into both money and access to day trading, their investment trends are ultimately shaping economies across the globe, from the US to India.