• Chinese EV maker Nio was the most traded stock by volume in 2020, according to eToro
  • Other top traded stocks this year were Aurora Cannabis, Beyond Meat, Boeing, Jumia Tech and Moderna
  • Bitcoin was the most traded crypto currency this year, but there was keen competition for runner-up status


China-based EV company Nio pipped Tesla to the post as the most traded stock of 2020 as investors caught on to two of this year’s major investing trends — EVs and green technology.

New York-listed Nio’s trading volume surged 27,190 per cent in 2020, compared to second placed Tesla which increased nearly 3,000 per cent, data provided by global trading platform eToro showed.

“Nio and Tesla have grown 1,100 per cent and 623 per cent, respectively, so far in 2020,” said eToro market analyst, Josh Gilbert, referring to capital gains.

“These two stocks have quite easily been the most talked-about companies by investors, and the bullish sentiment has remained strong throughout 2020, even in the middle of a global pandemic,” he said.

Gilbert described the 27,190 per cent increase in trading activity for Nio as “incredible” as the EV maker was barely known in January.

The investment theme of EVs has driven a lot of capital into ASX battery metal stocks, especially after Tesla’s Battery Day event when Elon Musk announced nickel as the company’s metal of choice for its batteries.

One ASX stock that was buoyed by Tesla and other electric vehicle makers finding stock market success was Piedmont Lithium (ASX:PLL).

Tesla awarded a supply deal to the company to source lithium from its US-based project.

Other ASX battery stocks that soared this year included Ecograf (ASX:EGR) with its graphite project in Tanzania and WA production plant, and Novonix (ASX:NVX) a producer of graphene-based anodes sold to the lithium-ion battery market.


US FAANG stocks a big buy for Australian investors

This year’s most traded stocks in 2020 included the usual FAANG tech stocks of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google holding company Alphabet.

They were joined by Alibaba, the Jack Ma-founded Chinese technology company with interests in retail, e-commerce and internet services.

All of these tech stocks experienced an increase in their trading volumes this year of more than 1,000 per cent, as the COVID-19 pandemic fuelled a boom in domestic consumption and stay-at-home entertainment.

“Apple is a stock that appeared in most investors’ portfolios this year, and with a 75 per cent gain, you can see why,” said Gilbert.

“The largest publicly traded company in the world has seen a cosmic increase in trading activity, as it launched new flagship products such as the iPhone 12.

“The increase in investor activity can also be attributed to Apple’s price drop in March, when many investors saw an opportunity to buy the stock at an attractive price,” he said.

Two other tech stocks inside the top 10 most popular traded shares were gaming technology company Nvidia, and data analysis firm Palantir Technologies.

Palantir Technologies only IPOed on to the New York Stock Exchange in October, and already has a market value of $US45bn. It provides data analysis services to US government agencies, BP and Airbus.


Twenty most traded stocks in 2020 on eToro trading platform

2020 Position Stock Percentage increase in trading volume year on year
1 Nio 27,190
2 Tesla 2,956
3 Apple 2,079
4 Amazon 1,388
5 Microsoft 1,660
6 Palantir Tech N/A
7 Facebook 1,396
8 Alphabet 1,088
9 Alibaba 1,294
10 Nvidia 1,525
11 Advanced Micro Devices 1,234
12 Aurora Cannabis 1,002
13 Moderna N/A
14 Netflix 1,057
15 Jumia Tech 38,335
16 Boeing 2,655
17 Zoom N/A
18 American Airlines 14,897
19 Beyond Meat 874
20 Walt Disney 1,306


COVID concerns and themes reflected in 2020 most traded stocks

Some of 2020’s interesting investment themes — cannabis, e-commerce, travel, vaccines and video conferencing — were reflected in the top 20 traded stocks.

Trading volumes boomed for Aurora Cannabis, Jumia Technologies, Boeing, American Airlines, Moderna Therapeutics, Beyond Meat and Zoom Video.

“As investors try to identify trends on the back of the global pandemic, Zoom emerged as one of the early names,” Gilbert said.

“Throughout 2020, Zoom impressed investors with tremendous earnings reports, as business activity continued to grow as the world worked from home,” said the eToro market analyst.

Canada-based Aurora Cannabis is one of the world’s largest cannabis stocks, valued at $US1.7bn on the New York Stock Exchange, and has operations in 25 countries.

Jumia Technologies is an African version of Alibaba or eBay, an ecommerce platform that acts as a digital shop window for more than 110,000 African businesses and entrepreneurs.


Bargin hunting among travel and airline stocks

Aerospace company Boeing has seen a slight revival in its share price, after ironing out some technical issues with its 737 Max aircraft this year, as has American Airlines, albeit from a low base.

“As investors went bargain hunting throughout the year, two names have become prominent, Boeing and American Airlines,” said Gilbert.

“Both of these companies have seen huge increases in trading activity, with Boeing’s share price falling to below $US100 in March, a price not seen since 2013,” he said.

“As hopes that travel would return at some point, and vaccine news continuing to be discussed throughout 2020, investors moved towards American Airlines to gain exposure to the overall travel industry,” said Gilbert.

“Seen as a beaten-down stock due to the effects of the pandemic, the vast increase in investment activity clearly shows that many people were after a bargain stock,” he stated.

Beyond Meat is a Nasdaq-listed company that has developed plant-based meat substitute foods.

Moderna is a US biotechnology company whose vaccine for the COVID-19 virus is currently being rolled out across the United States.

Blockbuster stock Airbnb a late arrival in 2020

Airbnb is one stock missing from the most traded stocks for 2020 list, although its hugely successful IPO took place in December, and too late in the year for inclusion in the list.

The host-led accommodation company has tripled its IPO offer price since listing in early December, and is trading around $US157 per share and has a market value of $US94bn.

Airbnb had initially scheduled its IPO for earlier in the year, but its plan to list on the New York Stock Exchange was delayed by COVID-19.

Bitcoin wins the crypto crown, DeFi catches on with investors

Turning to cryptocurrencies, and it is perhaps not surprising to investors that Bitcoin cemented its place at the top of the pile as the most traded digital currency in 2020.

“We saw huge volatility from crypto assets in 2020, with Bitcoin falling to below $US4,000 early in the year. Bitcoin has remained the top traded crypto asset at eToro globally, but we have seen a significant shift in the demographics investing into Bitcoin over the years,” said eToro’s analyst, Gilbert.

“The adoption of cryptoassets in 2020 from banks, hedge funds to payment providers has really sprung crypto and other assets into the limelight,” he said.

Second placed is the most popular cryptocurrencies for trades on the eToro platform is Ripple, a digital asset with an open-source blockchain technology with blink-of-an-eye transaction speeds – cited at 3-5 seconds.

Ripple is linked to a global digital payments network, RippleNet, that is used by international financial institutions and banks.

Ethereum was third in terms of its volume of trades for the 2020 year, and other cryptos such as Stellar, Tron and Litecoin rounded out the top 10.

“The standout increase in trading activity from cryptoassets came from the decentralised finance (DeFi) sector, with names such as Tezos, Cardano and Ethereal seeing the largest year on year increase,” said Gilbert.

“DeFi has grabbed the attention of crypto investors this year. Ethereum and Cardano have been the standout performers, both gaining more than 400 per cent so far this year,” he added.


Ten most traded cryotocurrencies in 2020 on eToro trading platform

2020 Position Cryptoasset Percentage increase in trading volume year on year
1 Bitcoin 99
2 Ripple 85
3 Ethereum 171
4 Cardano 138
5 Tezos 1080
6 Stellar 74
7 IOTA 110
8 Tron 100
9 Bitcoin cash 38
10 Litecoin 36


The eToro trading platform added more than 4 million users this year to arrive at 16 million, and the multi-asset investment platform had handled $1 trillion of trading business in the January-September 2020 period.

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