An analysis of online search trends within Google Trends shows that Hargreaves Lansdown remains the most searched-for UK investment platform ahead of Fidelity over the first four months of 2013 since the introduction of RDR (Retail Distribution Review).
Hargreaves Lansdown is winning the online battle to become the leading online investment platform or investment supermarket in the UK in terms of online search following the introduction of RDR. An analysis of Google search trends in a research whitepaper by analysts Macnab Research, shows that over the first four months of 2013 the top five most searched for online investment platforms in the UK were Hargreaves Lansdown, Fidelity, Halifax Share Dealing, TD Waterhouse and Selftrade.
Looking at online search trends over a longer time frame from Q1 2006 to Q4 2012 reveals the extent to which the popularity of Hargreaves Lansdown has grown in relation to other online investment platforms. Between Q1 2006 and Q1 2010, Fidelity was the most searched for online investment company, but over that time the popularity of Hargreaves Lansdown in terms of online search was growing rapidly and by Q2 2010 it had drawn level with Fidelity.
Rise In Popularity of ETF Products
An analysis of investment product online search trends also reveals the extent to which exchange traded products such as ETFs have gained in popularity over unit trusts and investment trusts. In the first four months of 2013, ETFs far outstripped unit and investment trusts in terms of relative search volume using Google Trends.
ETFs grew in popularity in terms of search volume significantly between Q1 2006 and Q1 2009 while the relative popularity of unit and investment trusts declined. Robert Macnab says, “From Q3 2011, the popularity of ETFs began to decline which may have been a reflection of or even a precursor to the fall in the price of gold which peaked in September 2011 – gold is one of the most popular exchange traded commodity products and one of the most popular ETF search terms in Google Trends.”