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Equity trading rush: Ratan Tata backed digital broker Upstox on high growth path

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on October 11, 2020 Published on October 11, 2020

On course to hit 2 million customer base in next few weeks, says co-founder Ravi Kumar

The big rush among younger people to open equity trading (demat) accounts in online platforms during the Covid-induced lockdown has helped propel the Ratan Tata and Tiger Global-backed Upstox to the second largest equity broking house ranking by active clients as per latest NSE data.

The number of active users of the Upstox platform grew from 6,75,551 in April 2020 to 12,24,141 in end September this year, according to NSE data.

This digital-only, retail focused discount broking house expects to cross overall customer base of 2 million in November 2020, earlier than the indicated timeline of December 2020 for achieving this milestone, Ravi Kumar, Co-Founder & CEO, Upstox, told BusinessLine.

This will be significant as Upstox had about one million customers — most of which built in the last two years — as of end June this year. Upstox was the 48th broker in the list of active customers in 2017.

Surge in new accounts

“Our journey to the next million has been pretty rapid. We have been growing rapidly in the last one year. It has now accelerated. We are going to cross the 2 million overall customer base in next few weeks. This is happening earlier than anticipated. However, this is just scratching the surface and these numbers are small to us and we will be happy if we have 100 million customers on our platform,” Kumar said.

There has been a sharp surge in activity in terms of trades put through Upstox platform between April and October this year. The average daily notional turnover went up around 2X from April 2020 to September 2020, while the daily cash turnover went up around 3X from April 2020 to September 2020.

Upstox made a record last December when it opened one lakh accounts in that month. In the just concluded September 2020, it added 2-3 lakh new accounts and the month-on-month run rate is increasing.

Clientele data

Currently, more than 85 per cent of Upstox’s order flow are through smartphones, which is very different from a bank-owned brokerage. As many as 80 per cent of its customers — mostly millennials — are from smaller towns. Kumar noted that there has been a sharp rise in April-June 2020 in the number of accounts opened by women. While 70 per cent of these women are first-time investors, more than 35 per cent of women customers are housewives.

In the retail broking industry pecking order, Upstox has now edged out ICICI Securities to bag the second position in terms of number of active users. However, Upstox is at distant second to the industry leader Zerodha on this count.

Upstox is now focusing on building up the product suite and enhancing customer experience. This digital discount broker is quite hopeful of introducing in this quarter or next a Digigold product as well as a service for enabling its customers to directly trade in foreign stocks such as US equities out of Upstox platform, Kumar said.

“As interest rates drop, we expect Indians to naturally gravitate towards equity markets as they seek higher returns from their savings. We want to be the platform of choice for younger India in their investment journey,” Kumar said.

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Published on October 11, 2020
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