Mobile preferences among investors continue to evolve, E-Trade Financial found in its latest quarterly tracking study of experienced investors.

The study showed that 56% of survey respondents wanted their brokerage’s mobile app to have robust capabilities to rival their brokerage’s website experience. This was important for nearly three-quarters of millennial traders and two-thirds of Gen Xers, but for less than half of boomers.

Sixty-five percent of investors said it was critical to be able to monitor their investments and execute trading decisions on the go — again, a very strong sentiment of millennial respondents.

More than three out of five investors surveyed said they were interested in checking the markets on wearables, up from less than two out of five in last year’s third quarter.

A majority of millennials and Gen Xers, but less than a third of boomers, said they planned to use mobile to monitor their portfolio more often in the coming year.

More than one in seven investors reported using an investing app to perform activities typically reserved for the desktop, such as placing orders, moving money in and out of their accounts, researching investments and watching educational videos.

“Mobile is increasingly sophisticated in its functionality and, in fact, for some investors, it is rendering desktops unnecessary,” Kunal Vaed, senior vice president of digital channels at E*Trade, said in a statement.

“Today’s investors seek a comprehensive toolkit for onboarding, idea generation, research, execution and monitoring on mobile devices — all with the effortless interactions and engaging design of apps. Striking the right balance between simplicity and complexity is critical for our industry to truly meet investors’ needs.”

E*Trade conducted the online survey in early April among a U.S. sample of 907 self-directed active investors, 65% male and 35% female, who manage at least $10,000 in an online brokerage account. A third each trade more than once a week, less than once a week but more than once a month, and less than once a month.

Mobile Trading and Investing Trends

According to Vaed, recent data suggest that more and more investors are using smartphones to trade.

Among E*Trade customers, he said, total trades and options trades on smartphones rose by 24% and 41% from 2015.

He noted that mobile, once a tool mainly for active traders, was now the new desktop. Mobile has shifted to a mainstream investor platform, and delivers a robust suite of investing and trading features once only available on desktop.

Vaed said financial services firms should respond by ensuring that their digital experiences can seamlessly scale to mobile platforms through responsive design.

In addition, he said, brokers need to design mobile apps to accommodate most user journeys across active traders, mainstream investors and stock plan participants.

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