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Coronavirus crisis: young Belgians starting to invest up to four times more often than people over 55

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Brussels, 9 October 2020 – There are major generational differences in how Belgians are responding financially to the coronavirus crisis. For example, in recent months Belgians under the age of 35 have invested in stocks four times more often than people over 55, according to a survey by Keytrade Bank of 1,000 Belgians. Nevertheless, Belgians remain timid investors.

Younger Belgians clearly see the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to try and earn a little extra. Nearly one out of ten Belgians under the age of 35 (8.1%) have started investing more actively since the start of the coronavirus crisis compared to before. And four times more young investors are investing in the stock market than people over 55 (1.9%). Younger investors more often view crisis situations as a sound investment climate, according to the Keytrade Bank survey. Belgians under 35 say 10% more often than the national average that crisis periods are a good time to invest.

The more adventurous investment profile of younger Belgians is also in line with the classic buy low, sell high mantra. Young investors have seen their portfolios grow in recent weeks and months, while older investors have kept their portfolios stable by buying about as much as they sell.

“This is a positive sign that young investors are once again investing in the market,” says Thierry Ternier, CEO of Keytrade Bank. “As a bank, we are making this as accessible as possible for small investors in general. Now that the purchasing power of savings has been declining instead of increasing for a while, encouraging noises from politicians would certainly be appropriate for small (young) investors. And companies that want to raise money on the stock exchange would do well not to lose sight of younger investors.”

Keytrade Bank has also noticed an uptick in activity among young investors, characterised by a rising number of share purchases. Surprisingly, their investment choices are not very exotic. Well-known names such as AB Inbev, ING and Ageas are the three most popular stocks among young investors at Keytrade Bank.

Young people save less, but invest more

Generally speaking, Belgians under 35 report that they have seen their income decline since the start of the coronavirus crisis (29% more often than national average), have had less room to save (32% more often than national average) and have started to invest more actively (53% more often than national average).

Older investors, especially those over 55, are mainly displaying risk aversion and steadfastness in their response to the coronavirus crisis. A majority of them (72%) have kept their portfolio stable and continued to actively save. Eight out of ten investors over 55 have continued to save as much during the coronavirus crisis as before or even put more money aside than before. Among young people, this has only been the case for two thirds of the respondents.

Belgians still timid investors

The differences between generations, however, conceal major similarities that apply to all Belgian age groups. For example, more than eight out of ten Belgians, regardless of age, say they will continue their spending pattern in the months ahead. Moreover, Belgians are generally very timid investors: half of the respondents said they do not invest and that they have not been encouraged to do so due to the coronavirus crisis.

Finally, eight out of ten Belgians say that as a result of the coronavirus crisis and social distancing measures, they prefer to monitor their banking affairs digitally – something on which both younger and older Belgians agree.

“Let me make it clear that in consumer-friendly investing, a 100% digital approach like ours is the only way forward. It gives me hope that all Belgians, including senior citizens, are calling for digitalisation. This is a clear message for our sector and proof that the path we paved with Keytrade Bank years ago is the right one”, concludes Keytrade Bank CEO Thierry Ternier.

About this survey: Keytrade Bank commissioned research firm iVOX to survey a representative sample of 1,000 Belgians. The maximum margin of error for this sample is 3.02%.

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