Barchart Survey Provides Customer Insights

Thom Thompson

Thom Thompson


Barchart published its futures market survey What Drives Futures Market Participants Tuesday. The report resulted from a survey of more than 400 people, from the general online population to active investors, listed derivatives audience members and business professionals.  The report provides insights into the current attitudes of traders, and a few non-traders, toward futures markets. The survey drew from responses from four distinct audiences: Facebook, LinkedIn,, and the John Lothian Newsletter (yes, maybe even you, dear Reader!). The Facebook crowd represents the general online population.

As the report says on its first page, “These cohorts allowed us to understand how each group interacts with the futures markets, on which platforms, and for what purposes.” The folks at Barchart do not make any claim about the statistical reliability of the results. That is a good thing, since more than one in ten of the Facebook respondents said that they trade futures – certainly not representative of the Facebook-user base. 

The respondents’ accounts are pretty well funded. Thirty-six percent said they have more than $100,000 in their futures accounts. 

Since most of the questions invite multiple responses (what kinds of futures contracts do you trade? With answers from metals, equity index and energy all the way to cryptocurrencies), analysis of all of the information in the 38-slide report demands some careful thought. 

Intriguing follow-up questions arise too. For example, nine percent of respondents who trade futures trade cryptocurrency futures, and it would be interesting to find out what other products those respondents also trade. Do bitcoin futures traders tend to come out of metals or grains or FX? The survey leaves you hanging. 

Regarding cryptocurrencies, while nine percent of all respondents who trade futures trade cryptocurrency futures, 12 percent of the John Lothian Newsletter respondents said they trade cryptocurrencies. The active investor audience, drawn from Barchart subscribers, and the LinkedIn business professional audience had relatively less interest; only eight and eleven percent, respectively, said they trade cryptocurrency futures.  

Newsletter readers are also more interested in volatility and equity index futures than the other groups of traders. This may be attributable to the strong readership the newsletter enjoys among equity options traders.   

The report contains a wealth of beauty pageant results regarding futures traders’ favored trading platforms and favored brokers. Multiple answers were allowed so the top ranked platform might have been a plurality of respondents’ second favorites in the category. Interesting nonetheless. 

Apparently, there are a number of people who do not trade futures among the four cohorts Barchart surveyed. Among the lookie loos who follow futures market activity without trading, equity index futures are followed the most, followed by energy and then metals. 

Finally, among the respondents who neither trade nor follow futures, none from the listed derivatives audience (the John Lothian Newsletter cohort) said that not knowing how to trade was the reason for not following or trading futures.  

You can request the full survey, What Drives Futures Market Participants from Barchart.

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