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UK Consumers and Direct Investment market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Consumers and Direct Investment market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

This report will cover the following areas:

  • Robo-advice will become a bigger feature of the D2C market
  • How much choice do people want from direct-to-consumer platforms?
  • Mobile investment services are growing, but demand is limited

Competition in the market is growing with new entrants from across the asset manager, life insurance and banking sectors. This has prompted the development of a range of solutions from platforms that offer access to thousands of funds, to more guided services that help people to match their risk profile with a limited range of funds or portfolios. The low level of engagement among mass-market consumers means that truly self-directed investors are relatively rare, and robo-advice services are being rolled out in the hope that they can help bridge the advice gap and provide investors with some degree of personalised advice.

This Report examines the direct-to-consumer market, providing an overview of the current size of the market, as well as the key market drivers and regulatory and legislative environment. It considers the strategies of some of the leading providers in the market, as well as key product launches and developments. Mintel's exclusive consumer research explores the level of interest in direct investing, as well as the factors that are likely to prompt people to consider direct investment. Interest in mobile investment services is also considered, along with attitudes towards advice.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Sarah Hitchcock, a leading analyst in the Finance sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Increasing numbers of people, from across the wealth spectrum, are choosing to invest directly rather than use an intermediary – and this trend is set to continue. Based on the findings of our consumer research, many consumers are planning to start investing over the coming year. Most of these expect to self-invest, and many are open to the idea of using an online investment platform or similar service. Sarah Hitchcock
Senior Financial Services Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Executive Summary

        • The consumer
          • Around a quarter currently have investments
            • Figure 1: Ownership of savings and investments products, August 2018
          • 15% of non-investors have savings of £20,000 or more
            • Figure 2: Value of savings and investments, August 2018
          • 47% are uncomfortable taking risks with their savings
            • Figure 3: Appetite for risk, August 2018
          • 51% of non-investors with savings are regular savers
            • Figure 4: How non-investors save, August 2018
          • Non-investors are split on their saving goals
            • Figure 5: Non-investors’ savings goals, August 2018
          • Lack of funds and aversion to risk are the biggest reasons not to invest
            • Figure 6: Reasons not to own investments, August 2018
          • Opportunities for micro-investing
            • Figure 7: Interest in features of investment products, August 2018
          • Marketing isn’t coming through to non-investors
            • Figure 8: Awareness of investment advertising, August 2018
          • Non-investors are more interested in returns than investment profiles
            • Figure 9: Attitudes towards investments, August 2018
          • What we think
          • Issues and Insights

            • Changing attitudes towards risk
              • The facts
                • The implications
                  • A bright future among younger consumers?
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                      • The Market – What You Need to Know

                        • Net fund sales had a bumper 2017
                          • Increased transparency and Open Banking provide new opportunities
                          • Market Size

                              • Net fund sales had a bumper 2017 …
                                • Figure 10: Value of gross and net retail fund sales, 2013-18
                              • … but investing is still a minority pursuit
                                • Figure 11: Number of ISAs and amounts subscribed to each component, 2008/9-2016/17
                            • Market Environment

                              • Promising signs for savers …
                                • Figure 12: Effective interest rates on household deposit balances versus official bank base rate, January 2013-August 2018
                              • … but many continue to struggle
                                • Figure 13: Household savings ratio, 2013-18
                              • Regulators pushing for greater transparency
                                • Open Banking offers a new route to investing
                                • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                  • Online and mobile platforms are key to attracting tomorrow’s investors
                                    • Santander is the biggest advertiser in investments
                                    • Competitive Strategies

                                      • Online and mobile platforms are key to attracting tomorrow’s investors
                                      • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                        • Aberdeen and Santander drive increase in adspend
                                          • Figure 14: Top 10 spenders on above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on investments, 2015/16-2017/18
                                        • Brand building is the biggest focus for advertisers
                                          • Figure 15: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on investments, by product type, 2017/18
                                        • Press is the dominant medium
                                          • Figure 16: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on investments, by media type, 2017/18
                                        • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                          • Around a quarter currently have investments
                                            • 15% of non-investors have savings of £20,000 or more
                                              • 47% are uncomfortable taking risks with their savings
                                                • 51% of non-investors with savings are regular savers
                                                  • Lack of funds and aversion to risk are the biggest reasons not to invest
                                                    • Opportunities for micro-investing
                                                      • Marketing isn’t coming through to non-investors
                                                        • Non-investors are more interested in returns than investment profiles
                                                        • Savings and Investment Product Ownership

                                                          • Around a quarter currently have investments …
                                                            • Figure 17: Ownership of savings and investments, August 2018
                                                          • … often limited to stocks and shares ISAs and company shares
                                                            • Figure 18: Ownership of savings and investments products, August 2018
                                                        • Identifying Potential Investors – Value of Savings

                                                          • 25% hold more than £20,000 …
                                                            • Figure 19: Value of savings and investments, August 2018
                                                          • … falling to 15% of non-investors
                                                            • Figure 20: Value of savings and investments, by ownership of investments, August 2018
                                                          • Up to a quarter could have enough to cover medium-term expenses
                                                            • Figure 21: Value of savings of non-investors, by annual household income, August 2018
                                                        • Identifying Potential Investors – Appetite for Risk

                                                          • People are conservative but half could be encouraged to take risks …
                                                            • Figure 22: Appetite for risk, August 2018
                                                          • … falling to a fifth of non-investors
                                                            • Figure 23: Appetite for risk, by ownership of investments, August 2018
                                                          • Higher-value savers are more open to risk
                                                            • Figure 24: Appetite for risk among non-investors, by value of savings, August 2018
                                                          • Aversion to risk increases with age
                                                            • Figure 25: Appetite for risk among non-investors, by age, August 2018
                                                        • Approach to Saving

                                                          • 51% of non-investors with savings are regular savers
                                                            • Figure 26: How non-investors save, August 2018
                                                          • Non-investors are split on their savings goals …
                                                            • Figure 27: Non-investors’ savings goals, August 2018
                                                          • … and most have only one type of goal
                                                            • Figure 28: Non-investors’ savings goals, repertoire analysis, August 2018
                                                          • Middle-aged savers have a keener eye to the future
                                                            • Figure 29: Non-investors’ savings goals, by age, August 2018
                                                          • Cash ISA holders represent the most likely converts to investments
                                                            • Figure 30: Non-investors’ savings aims, by ownership of savings accounts, August 2018
                                                        • Barriers to Investing

                                                          • Risk aversion is the biggest challenge to overcome
                                                            • Figure 31: Reasons not to own investments, August 2018
                                                          • A fifth with more than £20,000 in savings don’t feel wealthy enough to invest
                                                            • Figure 32: Agreement with the statement “I don’t have enough money to invest” as a reason not to own investments, by value of savings, August 2018
                                                          • Regular savers are more concerned by certainty
                                                            • Figure 33: Reasons not to own investments, by approach to saving, August 2018
                                                          • Improved education could close the investment gap
                                                            • Figure 34: Agreement with the statement “I don’t understand how investing works” as a reason not to own investments, by age and gender, August 2018
                                                          • Half identify only one barrier to investing
                                                            • Figure 35: Reasons not to own investments, repertoire analysis, August 2018
                                                        • Interest in Investment Features

                                                          • Opportunities for micro-investing
                                                            • Figure 36: Interest in features of investment products, August 2018
                                                          • Easy access holds big appeal
                                                            • Figure 37: Interest in features of investment products, by approach to saving, August 2018
                                                          • Looking beyond advice?
                                                            • Figure 38: Interest in channel-based features of investment products, by generation, August 2018
                                                        • Awareness of Investment Advertising

                                                          • Marketing isn’t coming through to non-investors
                                                            • Figure 39: Awareness of investment advertising, August 2018
                                                          • Online channels best-placed to reach tomorrow’s investors
                                                            • Figure 40: Awareness of selected investment advertising, by age, August 2018
                                                          • Regular savers are more attuned, but most are still in the dark
                                                            • Figure 41: Awareness of investment advertising, by approach to saving, August 2018
                                                        • Attitudes towards Investments

                                                          • Non-investors are more interested in returns than investment profiles …
                                                            • Figure 42: Attitudes towards investments, August 2018
                                                          • … but ethical issues are important for younger consumers
                                                            • Figure 43: Agreement with the statement “I would be more interested in the types of investments on offer (eg type of companies I could buy shares in) than the amount I could expect to earn”, by age, August 2018
                                                          • Current account providers have only a small advantage
                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                • Consumer research methodology