First-time investors, typically those with less than a year of investing experience, tend to prioritize short-term gains over long-term investment impacts. This is reinforced by their higher proclivity towards riskier and speculative assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs, which are significantly less popular among their more experienced counterparts. On the other hand, seasoned investors, who have spent more than five years investing, tend to lean towards more conservative options like bonds and mutual funds. Notable also is the fact that saving for retirement is not top of mind for the majority of first-time investors – only about a third identify it as a motivation for their investing activity. In contrast, nearly 80% of seasoned investors consider it as key for their investment decisions and strategies.

Brands must continue leveraging a wide array of channels to meet investors where they are. If it’s seasoned investors they are after, then advisory and wealth management services are the most effective acquisition avenues. If it’s younger, new-to-market investors, then social media remains ripe grounds for building engaging relationships with this group.

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Market drivers impacted investing
  • Investment product ownership
  • Barriers and motivators to investing
  • Channels used for investing advice
  • Channels used for managing investments
  • Most important factors in choosing an investment platform
  • Attitudes towards investing

The investment industry is on the cusp of significant change, driven by economic shifts, technological advancements, and evolving investor preferences.

Amr Hamdi, Senior Analyst – Financial Services

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary

    • What you need to know
    • Consumer trends: key takeaways
    • Investors' motives are highly influenced by their experience
    • Graph 1: investing motives, by investing experience, 2024
    • First-time investors' motives are increasingly tied to making money quickly
    • Graph 2: investing motives, by investing experience, 2023
    • Graph 3: investing motives, by investing experience, 2024
    • Speak to both debt management and retirement planning when engaging with younger investors
    • Majority of investors use YouTube for investing advice, closely followed by Meta and Instagram
    • Graph 4: types of social media platforms used for investing advice, 2022-24
    • Reddit still has untapped potential for investing firms
    • Banks' advisory services are still struggling with client retention
    • Graph 5: usage of financial advisor outside primary bank, by household investable assets, 2023 and 2024
    • There is a stark gap between first-time and seasoned investors' usage of advisors at their primary bank.
    • Graph 6: usage of financial advisors, by investing experience, 2024
    • Leverage tiered rewards to sustain engagement and reduce client turnover
    • Discounts are likely to resonate with younger investors, while premium and exclusive benefits can grab the eye of older, affluent clients
    • Market predictions
    • Opportunities
    • Men significantly outpace women when it comes to investing participation
    • Graph 7: investment product ownership, by gender, 2024
    • Women are much less comfortable with their investing knowledge, leading to retirement concerns
    • Graph 8: investing literacy and confidence, by gender, 2024
    • Women remain an addressable market for brands, but thoughtfulness is key to successful engagement
    • Fidelity spoke to women's unique financial challenges, while teaming up with celebs like Viola Davis as part of its Women Talk Money series
    • Black and Hispanic adults are significantly less likely to seek investment advice from advisors
    • Graph 9: channels used for investment advice, by race and ethnicity, 2024
    • Enhance representation across advisory messaging to ensure diverse customer growth
  2. Market Dynamics

    • Market context
    • Market drivers
    • The United States has seen a significant rise in wealth in the past few years
    • Graph 10: number of billionaires, 1990-2023
    • There's a rising anticipation among younger generations that they will be beneficiaries of their parents' estate
    • Graph 11: expectations of receiving an inheritance, 2023 and 2024
    • The high-rate environment remains conducive to further acquisition across interest-bearing investments
    • Graph 12: federal funds effective rate, 2006-2024
    • Brands ramped up investment and banking direct mail spend towards high-income households
    • Graph 13: percent change in direct mail spend across HIH, 2022-2023
  3. Consumer Insights

    • Consumer fast facts
    • Investor profiles
    • Nearly half of investors are seasoned
    • Graph 14: investing experience, 2023 and 2024
    • Gen Zers and Millennials make up the lion's share of first-time and intermediate investors
    • Graph 15: investing experience, by generation, 2024
    • Investing experience and affluency are intimately linked
    • Graph 16: investing experience, by household investable assets, 2024
    • Investment product ownership
    • Investment ownership skews towards men and high-earners
    • Graph 17: investment product ownership, by gender, generation, and household investable assets, 2024
    • Stocks and mutual funds are the most commonly owned investments
    • Graph 18: investment product ownership, 2024
    • Stocks and mutual funds are especially popular among high net-worth investors
    • Graph 19: investment product ownership, by household investable assets, 2024
    • Investment participation exhibits strong links to consumers' life stage
    • Graph 20: investment product ownership, by generation, 2024
    • Multicultural consumers' investment ownership lags across most of the major asset types
    • Graph 21: investment product ownership, by race and ethnicity, 2024
    • Financial Institutions must do their part in closing the investing gap among multicultural segments
    • Seasoned investors are drawn to traditional assets, while first-time investors are much more risk-tolerant
    • Graph 22: investment product ownership, by investing experience, 2024
    • Despite a slight retread since 2023, over 40% of intermediate investors still hold crypto
    • Graph 23: cryptocurrency ownership over time, by investing experience, 2022 and 2024
    • Signs point to crypto ownership growing throughout 2024
    • Barriers to investing
    • Lack of funds remains the top barrier to investing
    • Graph 24: barriers to investing, 2024
    • Brands speak to the autonomy and cost-effectiveness fractional shares can provide
    • Investing literacy is increasing, but is still a significant barrier for young adults
    • Graph 25: lack of knowledge as an investing barrier, by age, 2023 and 2024
    • Acorns highlights how little one needs to begin investing, as well as the cost of waiting too long to get started
    • Investing Motives
    • Saving for retirement and financial security are the biggest reasons consumers began investing
    • Graph 26: investing motives, 2023 and 2024
    • Younger and older investors have hugely contrasting motives
    • Graph 27: investing motives, by age, 2024
    • Nearly 40% of Black adults began investing to build generational wealth
    • Graph 28: investing motives, by race and ethnicity, 2024
    • Sources of investing advice
    • Financial advisors are the go-to source of investing advice, along with family/friends
    • Graph 29: top five sources used for investing advice, 2023 and 2024
    • Gen Zers and Millennials are increasingly leveraging social media for investing advice
    • Graph 30: usage of social media for investing advice, by generation, 2023 and 2024
    • Leverage finfluencer partnerships to reach the new generation of investors
    • Relying on social media for investing advice is still not without its pitfalls
    • Channels used to manage investments
    • Financial advisors and self-directed brokerage accounts are the most popular avenues for investment management
    • Graph 31: channels used to manage investments, 2024
    • Younger Millennials are the highest adopters of robo-advisors
    • Graph 32: robo-advisor usage to manage investments, by generation, 2024
    • The human touch remains critical despite the proliferation of robo-advisors
    • Key Factors in Choice of Investment Platform
    • Brand reputation and fees are the primary acquisition drivers for investment brands
    • Graph 33: key factors in choice of investing platform, 2023 and 2024
    • Coinbase and Fidelity highlighted their lack of fees along with 24/7 customer support in recent customer communications
    • Younger investors are more driven by the customer experience rather than price when seeking an investing platform
    • Graph 34: key factors in choice of investing platform, by generation, 2024
    • Charles Schwab promoted its accessible customer support, while Ally highlighted its secure and frictionless mobile experience
    • Interest in New Investments
    • The range of investment options that appeal to consumers are diverse
    • Graph 35: interest in new investments, 2024
    • First-time investors are most interested in fractional share options
    • Graph 36: interest in new investments, by investing experience, 2024
    • Interest in crowdfunded real estate slightly grew among younger adults
    • Graph 37: interest in crowd-funded real estate, by age, 2023 and 2024
    • Fundrise and RealtyMogul are two of the leading real estate crowdfunding platforms
    • Attitudes toward investing
    • Seven in ten Millennials are interested in bundling products for a monthly fee
    • Graph 38: interest in bundling multiple financial products for a monthly fee, by generation, 2023 and 2024
    • Affluent investors are the least keen to miss out on market gains
    • Graph 39: attitudes toward high-yield savings accounts, by household investable assets, 2024
    • Acquisition opportunities remain aplenty across high-yield products
    • Nearly 80% of younger consumers want to invest in things they are passionate about
    • Graph 40: attitudes toward passion investing, by age, 2024
    • Most consumers are still preferential to human advisors over robo-advisors
    • Graph 41: willingness to pay a premium for a human advisor over a robo-advisor, by household investable assets, 2023 and 2024
    • Black and Asian adults are the least confident in their ability to retire comfortably
    • Graph 42: confidence in ability to retire comfortably, by race and ethnicity, 2024
  4. Innovation and Marketing Trends

    • Marketing and advertising
    • Fidelity and Ellevest leveraged social media to speak to the challenges women face when it comes to investing
    • Ally used cash bonuses to encourage investing participation
    • Brands targeted affluent households by speaking to their preference for personalized attention and goals of growing generational wealth
    • Coinbase showcased why it considers itself a best-in-class exchange
  5. Appendix

    • Consumer research methodology
    • Generations
    • Abbreviations and terms

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