CFD trading statistics

CFDs are a highly risky way to trade. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) analysis has revealed 82% of CFD customers lose money.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 51%-81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

CFD stands for “contracts for difference”. It allows traders to speculate on financial instruments without owning the underlying asset, making CFDs a derivative product.

Assets that utilize CFD include shares, commodities, indices and forex. Learn more about the CFD trading market from our research below.

Quick overview

  • On average, 82% of CFD traders lose money.
  • The average loss amounts to £2,200 when trading CFDs.
  • 3% of Brits have traded CFDs, around 1.7 million people, as of 2024.
  • CFDs are the least traded type of investment in the UK.
  • 73% of investors are beginner or intermediate investors.
  • Search popularity increased by 137% from 2012 to 2022.
  • Google searches for the term “CFD trading” have decreased by 58% for Britons from 2020 to 2022.
  • On average, 560,000 customers traded CFDs every month in 2020.
  • According to Finder research, 7% of investors trade CFDs, making it the least popular investment type. This equals almost 3% of the population or around 1.5 million people. On the other hand, stocks are exchanged by 43% of all investors and are the most popular investment type.

    Investment type Percentage
    Stocks/shares 43.21%
    Funds 23.51%
    Cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin) 22.96%
    Bonds 21.20%
    Forex 13.59%
    ETFs 11.55%
    Ethical investments 11.55%
    Ready-made portfolios (such as Moneybox, Nutmeg etc.) 11.55%
    Options/futures 9.65%
    Contracts for difference (CFDs) 7.47%
    Not sure 6.66%
    Other (please state) 1.09%

    UK investor profile

    CFD trading is recommended for expert investors as it is a complex instrument with high risk exposure. However, our research found that just 6% of investors consider themselves advanced. On the other hand, almost 3 in 4 (73%) investors consider themselves to be beginner or intermediate investors.

    CFD trading risks

    Most CFD traders do not have a high success rate. In fact, 82% of CFD traders lose money and the average loss amounts to £2,200 when trading these products. To address this issue, the FCA increased measures to protect consumers in 2019 and it expected to save retail consumers between £267 million and £451 million per year. Despite campaigns aimed at protecting investors, 45% of self-directed investors do not see “losing money” as a potential risk of investing in high-risk, high-return types of investment like CFDs.

    Public interest in CFD trading

    Between 2012 and 2022, search popularity on Google for “CFD trading” increased by 137%, showcasing long-term growth in CFD trading interest over the last 10 years. Search interest peaked in 2020 and has been falling since then. In 2022, search popularity for CFD trading had shrank by 58% compared to 2020.

    Year Average search interest on Google
    2004 5.09
    2005 7.33
    2006 5.67
    2007 10.67
    2008 7.08
    2009 10.08
    2010 8.58
    2011 9.92
    2012 8.50
    2013 8.08
    2014 11.25
    2015 11.25
    2016 11.25
    2017 18.25
    2018 18.17
    2019 18.00
    2020 48.33
    2021 32.67
    2022 20.17

    CFD trading around the world

    CFD trading is legal in the UK. However, many countries around the world have banned CFD trading due to the high level of risk involved. As of 2024, CFD trading is illegal in the US, Brazil, Belgium and Hong Kong. Many countries only allow regulated firms to trade CFDs.

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

    Matt Mckenna
    UK communications manager
    T: +44 20 8191 8806
    matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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