What percentage of the UK population invests in the stock market?

According to our survey, almost 1 in 5 (18%) of Brits have owned stocks and shares before.

Investing in stocks and shares has seen a surge in popularity over the last few years thanks to the rise of fee-free trading platforms and interest in “meme” stocks. We look into just how many people in the UK invest, with breakdowns of who is investing and what they have invested in.

Quick overview

  • In 2023, around 2 in 5 Brits (42%) invest, up from 36% in 2021.
  • Almost 1 in 5 (18%) Brits have owned stocks and shares before, making it the most popular investment type.
  • In 2021, around 3.5 million people subscribed to a stocks and shares ISA, growing from 2.4 million in 2019.
  • 3 in 5 (60%) members of gen Z say they have invested before, making them the most active cohort, closely followed by millennials (54%).
  • Only around 1 in 3 (37%) baby boomers, 33% of gen X and 30% of the silent generation have invested before.
  • Only 39% of people with an income below £35,000 have invested before, compared to 77% of those with an income of over £100,000.
  • 1 in 10 (10%) from gen Z have placed money into ethical investments, more than any other cohort.
  • 11% of millennials have invested in cryptocurrencies, making this cohort the most active in cryptocurrency investing.
  • Only about one-third (32%) of women invest compared to slightly over half (52%) of men.

How many people invest in the UK?

In 2023, around 22 million Brits (42%) invest, which represents a 5% increase from 2021. There is still a significant gender gap in investing as only about one-third (32%) of women have invested, compared to slightly over half (52%) of men.

Year Percentage of people who invest
2021 37%
2023 42%

How many people invest in the stock market?

Our 2023 survey found that almost 1 in 5 (18%) of Brits owned stocks and shares. This is a 13% increase from 2021 when 16% of Brits said they owned shares. This percentage looks likely to grow as well, with 2 in 3 people (67%) saying they plan to buy stocks and shares at some point in the future.

Despite these high figures, only 3.5 million people (2021) subscribed to a stocks and shares ISA, meaning many investors could be missing out on the tax benefits that ISAs bring.

What are the most common investments?

In 2023, the most common investment type is shares, with 30% of investors saying they have bought stocks. Bonds followed in second place, with 17% of investors choosing this investment type. This is followed by funds at 14% and cryptocurrencies at 11%.

The least common investment types were CFDs (4%), options/futures (6%) and ETFs (6%).

Investment type Percentage
Stocks/ shares 30%
Bonds 17%
Fund 14%
Cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin) 11%
Ready-made portfolios (such as Moneybox, Nutmeg, etc.) 9%
Ethical investments 9%
Forex 7%
ETFs 6%
Options/Futures 6%
Contracts for difference (CFDs) 4%
Other, please specify 4%

How many people have subscribed to a stocks and shares ISA?

In 2021, around 3.5 million people subscribed to a stocks and shares ISA, growing from 2.4 million in 2019. The increase in stocks and shares ISA may have been due to the stock market gains made possible after the pandemic.

How many people invest in crypto?

According to our 2023 survey, less than 1 in 10 (6%) investors have bought cryptocurrency. Millennials are the most avid crypto investors, with 11% of the cohort having bought decentralised currencies. Gen z are the second most active cohort in crypto investing, with 8% buying digital currency.

The most commonly owned cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin (47%), Ethereum (33%) and Dogecoin (21%).

Do rich people invest more?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, income levels are correlated with investing activity in the UK. The most active investors are those with an income above £100,000 a year. Out of this income group, 77% say they have invested before. Around two-thirds (64%) of those earning between £100,000 and £75,000 say they have invested before, closely followed by those earning between £75,000 and £35,000 (62%).

The group that has invested the least is those with the lowest income. Only around 2 in 5 (39%) people with an income below £35,000 have invested before.

Income bracket Percentage of people that have invested
£100,000+ 77%
£75,001-£100,000 64%
£35,001-£75,000 63%
£0-£35,000 39%

What generation invests the most?

Younger generations tend to have invested more than older generations, perhaps due to the recent rise in share trading apps targeted at younger segments. 3 in 5 (60%) members of gen Z say they have invested before, closely followed by millennials (54%). Baby boomers are the third most active generation, with 37% saying they have invested.

Surprisingly, the silent generation leads gen X in investing, with 33% of the former cohort saying they have invested compared to 30% of the latter.

Generation Percentage of people that have invested
Gen Z 60%
Millenials 54%
Gen X 30%
Baby boomers 37%
Silent generation 33%

How different generations invest

Below is a breakdown of the investment types each generation invests in, with stocks leading the race across all cohorts and baby boomers having the highest share (24%) of investors active in stocks. Gen Z (10%) invests more in ethical investments than any other cohort.

The silent generation leads the bonds category, with 13% saying they have invested in bonds. Gen X is the least active in funds, with only 5% of the cohort saying they have invested in funds. Millennials lead the cryptocurrency category, with 11% saying they have invested in cryptocurrency.

Investment type Gen Z Millenials Gen X Baby Boomers Silent Generation
Invested in stocks 15% 15% 15% 24% 20%
Invested in bonds 11% 11% 11% 11% 13%
Invested in funds 13% 10% 5% 7% 10%
Invested in cryptocurrency 9% 11% 5% 3% 0%
Invested in ready-made portofolios 13% 9% 2% 2% 3%
Invested in ethical investments 10% 8% 4% 2% 3%
Invested in CFDs 6% 4% 1% 0% 0%
Invested in fund ETFs 7% 6% 1% 1% 0%
Invested in forex 7% 9% 1% 0% 7%
Invested in options/futures 6% 6% 3% 1% 3%

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Go to site