Half of Active Traders Use ETFs, Direxion Survey Shows

Respondents held six exchange-traded funds on average.

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Reviewed by: etf.com Staff
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Edited by: Mark Nacinovich

A new survey from Direxion showed that half of the active traders in the U.S. use exchange-traded funds and that 42% increased their allocation to ETFs in the past year.  

The $32 billion fund shop’s survey, which was conducted over the summer, looked at 500 people in the U.S. with at least $25,000 in investable assets. Direxion classified respondents as active traders if they considered themselves “very” or “somewhat” involved in making the trading decisions about their portfolios, self-identified as active traders or traded at least monthly. 

The percentage of active traders who used ETFs stayed flat compared with 2022. The average active trader held six ETFs. In terms of sectors, 57% said technology is the ETF sector that offers the most opportunity in active trading over the next six months, about equal to the 58% of respondents who said so in 2022. 

“The survey data indicates that active traders are seeking enhanced returns, control and opportunities in technology and artificial intelligence (AI) as they continue to evolve their strategies and adapt to market conditions,” Direxion said in a press release.  

Leveraged and Inverse ETFs 

Direxion has 80 ETFs, according to etf.com data, and its largest, the Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3x Shares ETF (SOXL), shows the firm is focused on leveraged and inverse ETFs. Those types of ETFs use derivatives to provide a multiple of the daily returns of an asset or group of assets.  

There’s a significant generational gap in how knowledgeable active traders say they are about leveraged and inverse ETFs. While 83% of Gen Z and millennial respondents said they were very or somewhat knowledgeable about those types of funds, only 63% of Gen X respondents and 33% of baby boomers did. 

Contact Gabe Alpert at [email protected].  

Gabe Alpert is a former data reporter at etf.com with over seven years’ experience in financial journalism. He also previously contributed reporting and analysis to Barron’s Magazine, Investopedia and other publications.