So-called “meme stocks” are back in the news after taking the stock market by storm in 2021. Video game retailer GameStop’s stock fluctuated wildly as one of the 2021 meme stock trend leaders known as Roaring Kitty took to a live stream on YouTube last week amid the company’s early earnings report. How much of an interest do investors have in meme stocks with this latest surge in investing? 

CivicScience data show that 11% say they have invested in a meme stock at some point, while 10% haven’t yet invested but plan to. Still, nearly half of stock investors (48%) say they’ve never heard of the concept, and 31% are familiar but have no interest. Gen Z adults are most likely to have invested, while Millennials are most likely to be interested in doing so. 

Weigh in: Do you think “meme stocks” will continue to be a prominent feature of the stock market for years to come?

Investing is down, but retirement funds and savings accounts still lead the way.

Despite the meme stock craze, an examination of American investment portfolio data show the percentage of those with stock or bond investments has fallen five points since 2022. In fact, the data also show the number of Americans who have most types of investments has declined over the past two years. The most common types of investments Americans have are savings accounts and retirement funds, with retirement accounts declining by as much as eight points since 2022. This comes at a time when Americans are feeling less optimistic lately about their outlook on both short-term saving and retirement. Cryptocurrencies and NFTs are the least popular investments, but they stand out as one of the only investment types that has increased over the past two years. 

How Americans invest varies quite a bit by age. Retirement may feel like a long way off for Gen Z adults or they may not yet have landed a job with a retirement account, which may explain they are far less likely to invest in retirement funds. Their second most common type of investment behind savings accounts is stocks and bonds. Millennials are most likely to invest in crypto, gold or silver. Gen Xers lead the way in terms of real estate investing while Boomers set the pace on stocks, savings, and unsurprisingly, retirement funds.

Robinhood and Fidelity stand out as leading mobile investment apps.

Despite a potentially rocky relationship with the company, the lead meme stock trader Keith Gill is an E*Trade user, which spurs the question: Which apps do investors turn to for their investments? CivicScience data show that 35% of investors report using a mobile app for investing. Among those users, Fidelity Investments (30%) and Robinhood (30%) are the most common choices. Beyond them, investors are fairly evenly divided on various high-profile options.

Take Our Poll: Do you use Robinhood or a similar investing app?

Where do investors go when they need advice on how to invest? 

  • Despite driving the meme stock trend, just 6% of advice-seeking investors say social media is their first source of advice. This jumps to 23% of Gen Z adults aged 18-24.
  • Most seeking advice prefer to turn either to financial professionals (30%), friends and family (23%), or a financial institution like their bank (15%). 
  • Fourteen percent of those looking for investment advice report they turn to an online source other than social media. Those aged 45+ are most likely to use this method for investment guidance.

Meme stocks, while capturing the attention of younger investors and stirring market excitement, appear to be more of a niche interest in the broader investment landscape for now. Traditional investments like retirement funds and savings accounts remain predominant among the Gen Pop despite in investing nearly across the board. Still, the case of stocks like GameStop do however demonstrate the power and influence that social media can have as younger Americans have access to mobile apps like Robinhood at their fingertips to ease their jump into the stock market.

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