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Visualizing Gold ETFs’ Record Inflows of 2020

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Gold ETF Inflows

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The Briefing

  • Gold ETF inflows in 2020 amounted to $47.9B (877.1t), more than doubling 2019’s inflows
  • This marks the fifth straight year of inflows into gold ETFs, almost doubling the previous record inflows in 2016 of $24.1B (541.1t)

Gold ETFs See Record Inflows in 2020

Gold had a strong year with 25% returns, and gold ETF inflows followed, reaching a new record high of $47.9 billion in 2020.

Gold-backed and gold ETFs have increasingly become a vital part of the gold investment market, making up around two-thirds of global net inflows for investment demand in the precious metal.

While gold set new all-time highs around $2,075/oz in 2020, gold ETF inflows ($47.5B) almost doubled the previous record-year of inflows (2016, $24.1B), and eclipsed 2013’s record year of outflows ($-41.6B).

YearTotal Flows in TonnesTotal Flows in USD
200342.5t$0.1B
2004125.4t$1.5B
2005218.9t$3.3B
2006260.2t$4.8B
2007251.5t$5.6B
2008311.0t$11.2B
2009649.0t$19.3B
2010388.6t$14.8B
2011260.0t$11.8B
2012251.9t$17.1B
2013-887.1t$-41.6B
2014-149.3t$-5.0B
2015-129.3t$-3.5B
2016541.1t$24.1B
2017271.6t$9.8B
201870.1t$4.0B
2019398.3t$19.1B
2020877.1t$47.9B

Gold futures also saw increased participation in 2020, with aggregate open interest reaching yearly record-highs of $120.9B as investors and traders sought gold exposure.

North American Funds Represent Most Gold ETF Inflows

In terms of regionality, North American funds accounted for almost two-thirds of global net inflows from Q1-Q3’2020, reaching a total inflow of $31.9B for the year.

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), the first U.S. gold ETF launched in 2004, made up the majority of North American inflows at $15.4B. Interestingly, this one ETF alone eclipsed Europe’s entire inflows for 2020 ($13.3B).

While Gold ETFs in Asia only reached $1.9B last year, their holdings saw the greatest percentage increase of all regions (49%) with seven new Chinese funds listed in 2020.

Gold ETFs are Driving Gold Investment Demand

Although flows turned negative in November ($-6.8B) and December ($-2.2B) of 2020, Gold ETF flows have returned positive for the first couple of weeks of 2021, with a $2.1B inflow as of Jan 15, 2021.

This return to positive ETF flows came as gold fell more than 5% from its $1,950 highs reached in early January. This could be a sign of gold ETF investors buying the dip, as gold potentially begins to turn upwards for the final two weeks of January.

Since gold ETFs make up such a large part of gold investment demand, keeping an eye on ETF flows can offer insight into where the precious metal might be headed.

»If you found this article interesting, you might enjoy this post on the ETFs: Visualizing the Expanse of the ETF Universe

Where does this data come from?

Source: World Gold Council
Details: The World Gold Council aggregates data from Bloomberg, ICE Benchmark Administration, and company filings.

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Datastream

Ranked: The Top Online Music Services in the U.S. by Monthly Users

This graphic shows the percentage of Americans that are monthly music listeners for each service. Which online music service is most popular?

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Top Online Music Services in the U.S.

The Briefing

  • Two-thirds of music listeners in the U.S. used YouTube at least once per month
  • 64% of music listeners use multiple music services per month

The Top Online Music Services in the U.S.

The music streaming industry is characterized by fierce competition, with many companies vying for market share.

Companies are competing on multiple fronts, from price and features to advertising and exclusive content, making it a challenging market for companies to succeed in.

YouTube (the standard offering and YouTube Music) has the highest amount of users, attracting around two-thirds of music listeners in the U.S. during a given month. This is largely due to the YouTube’s massive reach and extensive catalog of music.

Here’s a full rundown of the top music streaming services in the U.S. by monthly listeners:

RankMusic Service% of U.S. Music Listeners Who Use Monthly
#1YouTube61%
#2TSpotify35%
#2TAmazon Music 35%
#4Pandora23%
#5SiriusXM21%
#6Apple Music19%
#7iHeartRadio15%
#8SoundCloud10%
#9Audacity6%
#10TTuneIn5%
#10TDeezer5%
#10TNapster5%
#10TTidal5%

Two companies are in the running for second place: Spotify and Amazon Music.

Spotify leads in one important metric: number of paid users. Meanwhile, Amazon Music has a large user base since the service is bundled into Prime—however, recent changes mean that without a premium subscription, shuffled playback is the primary option. Time will tell what impact those changes will have on the service’s market share.

Prices for premium music services are beginning to creep upward. Apple Music and Amazon Music raised their prices, and it’s rumored that Spotify will not be far behind. This move would be significant because, in the U.S., Spotify hasn’t raised its prices in over a decade.

Rising prices and more aggressive promotion of premium subscriptions could be a signal that music streaming services are transitioning from a focus on capturing market share to monetizing existing users.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Activate Technology and Media Outlook 2023 by Activate Consulting

Data note: “Music services” include free and paid services used for listening to music through any format excluding terrestrial radio. “Music listeners” are defined as adults aged 18+ who spend any time listening to music.

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