France is witnessing a significant shift in its investment landscape, with cryptocurrencies now standing as the second most popular asset class among its adult population. This striking trend was unveiled in a recent survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and disseminated by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers, France’s principal financial regulator. The survey results, published on November 13, reveal that 9.4% of French adults hold crypto assets, closely trailing the most favored investment type, real estate funds, which hold a marginally higher share of 10.7%.
This growing interest in cryptocurrencies is particularly pronounced among a demographic termed as “new investors,” who began their investment journey after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Dominated by men, who constitute 64% of this group, these new investors are considerably younger, with an average age of 36, in contrast to the average age of 51 for traditional investors. Among these new investors, 54% are invested in crypto assets, highlighting a generational divergence in investment preferences.
Financial literacy and investment trends
The survey, which included 1,056 respondents and 40 in-depth interviews conducted in the spring of 2023, also sheds light on the financial literacy levels among different investor groups. The youngest investors, particularly those aged between 18 and 24, showed a relatively lower level of financial knowledge, often misunderstanding fundamental investment strategies. This finding underscores the importance of enhancing financial education, especially for younger investors who are increasingly drawn to digital assets.
Beyond cryptocurrencies, the survey indicates that 2.8% of participants own non-fungible tokens (NFTs), signifying a broader interest in diverse digital assets. In total, 24% of adults in France are engaged in financial investments, with more than 12% being newcomers who entered the market post-2020.
Investment errors accompany crypto popularity in France
A higher propensity for investment errors has accompanied the rise in the popularity of crypto assets among new investors as compared to more traditional investors in France—according to the report. However, this highlights the critical need for financial literacy and informed investment practices, particularly in a rapidly evolving market. The survey findings also point out that a significant portion of investors are driven by diversification, with 35% investing across multiple asset classes, while 28% are motivated by profit prospects.
French financial authorities are advocating for a well-regulated digital asset sector in response to these developments. This approach is aimed at protecting investors and promoting transparency while also enhancing cross-border payments. A second publication, a collaborative effort with the Banque de France due in 2024, will further aim to strategize financial education for new retail investors, a crucial step in adapting to the changing dynamics of the investment world.