Retail trading of leveraged products such as contract for difference (CFDs) and retail FX have experienced a steady growth in recent years. Forex Datasource estimates that retail brokerage firms generated trading revenue of as much as US$9 billion in 2018, with US$7.3 billion occurring outside of Japan, compared to global revenue of US$1.5 billion in 2003.
Several key forces, from demographic growth and internet propagation in the emerging world to new trading products are propelling the industry forward despite moderate regulatory headwinds in Europe and other geographies. The trading product mix, which includes but is not limited to spot FX, index CFDs, and spot commodities, remains as attractive as always, so the arrival of cryptocurrency trading in 2017 invigorated retail interest in self-directed trading and offered brokers a new, very profitable trading product.
There is constant reinvention in the leveraged trading industry, even as less efficient retail brokers are acquired or exit the business. This report provides an overview of key industry metrics going into 2019 and offers a needed perspective into major trends that are transforming the way self-directed services are metered, by whom, and where. Within the larger discussion of leveraged retail trading, we dedicate particular attention to CFD-related metrics and topics.