Why the smashed avo generation loves crypto and US tech stocks
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The number of 18-24-year-olds holding investments has doubled in the past five years, according to the ASX’s 2017 Australian Investor Study.
But some industry executives say it’s not traditional Aussie stocks that are attracting Millenials (or the smashed avo generation as they became known briefly — instead it’s crypto and US tech stocks.
In the US, crypto and tech stocks are the most popular investment for millenials.
Matt Leibowitz, founder of US-focused online broker Stake, thinks ASX-listed equities just aren’t doing it for the under-35s.
Millennials want access to investments they understand — media tech instead of iron ore for example — and the range of companies and industries and depth of liquidity on the Australian bourse is not attractive.
“One [millennial] customer said they do it so they can sleep at night to get diversification,” Mr Leibowitz told Stockhead.
“They are more clued-in than people give them credit for and they are looking at different products to give them alpha.”
The top six US stocks people invest in via his platform are Facebook, Amazon, Telsa, Netflix, Nvidia and Alibaba.
George Lucas, the boss of millenial-focused micro-investing platform Acorns Australia, says under-35s prefer Acorn’s aggressive portfolio which is stacked with international shares.
‘Who cares about coal?’
Many young investors who cut their teeth on crypto later invest in equities.
“Cryptocurrencies have taken the lead in getting younger people into equity markets,” Mr Leibowitz told Stockhead.
“The GFC [global financial crisis] caused a lot of issues, a lot of distrust of financial markets, so I think people have been a little bit burned.
“The [crypto] platforms are newer — so the user experience is stronger and more intuitive. It’s just easier to engage with if you want to get started.
“Crypto-currencies are truly global and younger audiences want to connect with the world.”
A third of Stake’s users also trade cryptocurrencies, which influences their expectations of small investments in fast-moving Initial Coin Offerings, contemporary interface design and product choice.
Ease of access is also important. Cryptocurrencies can cost as little as $50, whereas the minimum initial parcel for a stock investment is $500.
Kin Wai Lau, the chief of cryptocurrency miner Fatfish Internet (ASX:FFG), believes putting money into Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies is less intimidating than a stockmarket prospectus.
While ICOs are still very much the wild West, Mr Lau believes young people are more interested in ICOs than IPOs.
“Shares are not something they are passionate about. Who cares about coal anymore?” he said.
Not many sharetrading platforms have so far shown interest in offering access to ICOs, however.
Ted Richards, business development manager at robo-advisor Six Parks, says he received some interest from customers during the crypto boom in December and January.
But it wasn’t an area he would consider.
“Cryptocurrencies have a huge capacity to cause catastrophic damage to portfolios especially if you’re going to put all your eggs in one basket,” he said.
Mr Lucas also said they received some queries in December but since the value of Bitcoin has dropped by about 70 per cent, “it has gone very quiet from our client base”.