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The number of Australians trading shares online last year increased by 6 per cent to 645,000 — the highest since December 2010, according to a study of the online stockbroking industry.

In 2017, 645,000 Australians placed at least one share trade, up from 605,000 the year before.

The Investment Trends 2017 Second Half Online Broking Report, based on a survey of 10,589 traders and investors, is the largest independent study of the online stockbroking industry in Australia.

About a third of Australians hold shares.

“2017 was a positive year for retail online investing in Australia, with investor numbers rising to their highest level in the post-GFC era,” says Irene Guiamatsia, research director at Investment Trends.

The GFC (or global financial crisis) was a period of extreme stress in financial markets between 2007 and 2009, caused by a downturn in the US housing market.

Here’s how online share trading has grown:

Source: Investment Trends

“As investor outlook for domestic equities rose over the course of the year, individual Australians who believed that stocks were undervalued were encouraged to start investing online,” says Ms Guiamatsia.

“Many DIY investors rely on gut feel to guide their investment decision making, and recent healthy sharemarket performance has strengthened their preference for making decisions this way.

“The challenge for brokers is to turn the horde of novice investors into educated clients who invest from a position of knowledge.”

 

This article first appeared on Business Insider Australia, Australia’s most popular business news website. Read the original article. Follow Business Insider on Facebook or Twitter.