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Majority of Citizens Unaware of ETFs, Yet They Are Much More Popular with Investors than Gold, Shares and Funds

  • Just 43.9% of German citizens have heard of ETFs
  • 21% describe ETFs as “very attractive” (gold 19%, shares 15%, funds 11%)
  • Global assets held in ETFs increased by 489% between 2010 and 2020
  • Just 20% of European asset managers not offering their own ETF are concerned about the rise of ETFs

Only 43.9% of German citizens are aware of ETFs. Yet investors are well aware of the benefits offered by these assets, as shown in a new infographic by they are even outperforming gold, equities and funds.

The best-known form of investment in Germany is the building society savings plan, which 88.3% of citizens have heard of. Shares come in second place with 87.6%, and a large majority (81.2%) are also familiar with fund products.

The situation is markedly different when it comes to the popularity of the various forms of investment. 21% describe ETFs as “very attractive”. When it comes to gold, 19% come to this assessment, for shares it is 15%, and for funds it is just 11%.

Although the vast majority do not yet seem to have jumped on the ETF bandwagon, global assets under management in ETFs are skyrocketing: there were $7,737 billion of assets under management worldwide in 2020, compared to just $1,313 billion 10 years earlier. This amounts to an increase of 489%. Regardless of this growth, just 20% of European asset managers who do not offer their own ETF fear the rapid rise of exchange-traded index funds.

In addition to broadly diversified ETFs, themed ETFs are also enjoying increasing popularity. Such funds have recently been able to deliver significant returns for investors. For example, the price of the iShares Global Timber & Forestry ETF climbed 66.1% in a 12-month review, while the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF gained 72.1%.

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