This week one of my friends told me their grandpa just opened his first investing account on Robinhood so he could 'buy AI stocks'

In other words... investing has officially gone mainstream folks.

A story like that would have been unthinkable a decade ago. But in 2024 it's now increasingly common for people of all ages and backgrounds to dip their toes into the world of investing via investing apps like this.

The numbers speak for themselves. According to data from Business of Apps, the number of retail investors using apps to trade has skyrocketed from 36 million in 2017 to an estimated 200 million today. That explosive growth has come thanks to an abundance of innovation in the space (fractional shares, zero-commission trading) -- not to mention the exponential growth in access to tradable information on places like Twitter, Reddit (and of course Uptrends).

And as investing apps continue to gain in their popularity, a question occurred to me: which apps are retail investors like us *using* nowadays?

We decided to try and find out. This week we set out to create the definite list of most popular investing apps in the United States in 2024, compiled by analyzing Google Search trends for investing apps over the past 12 months. Without further ado, here are the most popular investing apps in every state right now:

Map of Most Popular Investing App in each state, 2024

Most Popular Investing Apps Overall

According to Google Trends, here are the top 20 most popular investing apps in the US over the past 12 months:

  1. Acorns
  2. Robinhood
  3. Charles Schwab
  4. eToro
  5. TD Ameritrade
  6. E*TRADE
  7. Fidelity
  8. Merrill Edge
  9. Webull
  10. Personal Capital (Empower)
  11. Betterment
  12. Interactive Brokers
  14. TastyTrade
  15. Wealthfront
  16. Ally Invest
  17. Stash
  18. TradeStation
  19. Vanguard
  20. SoFi Invest

First let me say that this ranking is based off of *search volume* over the past year, which isn't the same as pure usage of each app; many of these companies don't make their user account statistics publicly available anyways, so this was the most objective way of gauging popularity.

Now a few initial takeaways:

A New Age

One surprise for me was just how many of the apps are relatively 'new to the scene'. Almost half of these apps haven't existed for much longer than a decade (Acorns was founded in 2012, Robinhood in 2013, Stash in 2015, Webull in 2016, in 2019). There seems to be a changing of the old guard taking place, and I'd expect these trends to continue.

Diaspora of Offerings

Another interesting trend is how the styles of popular investing apps seems to be evolving. A decade ago virtually every investing app was the same; log on, hand-pick a few stocks, pay a commission to trade them. Nowadays there's a whole variety of different types of investing apps you can use.

Acorns and Stash specialize in micro- or incremental investing straight from your paycheck. Most of them now offer features like zero-commission, fractional trading and psuedo robo-advising across a variety of asset classes. Others like are focused on more social features like being able to see your friends portfolios.

I can only imagine what some of the top 20 will look like next year (maybe entirely different apps like Kalshi will make it onto the list?)

With that said, let's take a look at the breakdown by each state

Most Popular Investing Apps by State

Here are the most popular investing apps in every state over the past 12 months, grouped by app. As you can see, there's a bit of a Pareto effect happening here:

Acorns (19)

Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Robinhood (10)

California, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington

eToro (4)

Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma

Charles Schwab (3)

Arizona, Nebraska, Oregon (3)

Arkansas, Florida, Minnesota

Fidelity (2)

Massachusetts, New Hampshire

Merrill Edge (2)

Maine, Rhode Island

One Each

Ally Invest (Idaho), Betterment (Washington DC), Interactive Brokers (Connecticut), Personal Capital (Colorado), Stash (West Virginia), TastyTrade (Illinois), TradeStation (New Jersey), and TradeZero (Delaware)

Some takeaways:

Acorns is absolutely dominating the crowd as the number one most-searched investing app in roughly 40% of the states in the country, followed by Robinhood with another 20% of the states.

Regional Dialects

It's interesting also to note the regionality here -- eToro is more popular in the Deep South for some reason, while Merrill Edge and Fidelity reign supreme in New England. Other apps like TastyTrade clearly have an advantage in the state they are headquartered (ie. Illinois)

Nobody's Favorite:

Perhaps most intriguing to me is how some apps that are extremely popular overall aren't the *most* popular in any single state. Apps like E*TRADE, TDAmeritrade and Webull are all top-10 in terms of overall search volume this year, but none of them are the top in a single state (always the bridesmaid... never the bride).


If the analysis here reveals anything about what's ahead, it's that the world of investing apps is maturing. A wider variety of apps are gaining popularity, providing more optionality for the investing public. This is a good thing.

Younger apps seem to have been able to gain consideration throughout the country, presumably by offering better features and more innovation. This is also a great sign of a healthy, competitive industry.  Consumers are in good hands.

The question now is what will this look like a few years from now. Consider a similar dynamic that occurred when internet search became a widespread industry in the early 2000's -- there were dozens of internet search apps, but over time the dominant players were able to capture market share as the industry matured (RIP to AskJeeves and its comrads).

Will the same fate happen to the investing apps space? I suppose only time will tell.

I'd love to hear from you all here -- do any of these results surprise you? What do you think will happen to the investing app industry over the coming years? I'd love to dive deeper into this topic, so let me know if there's any other analysis you'd like to unpack here!

And remember, whichever investing app you use to manage your portfolio, Uptrends is the place to find stocks to trade first:

See Trending Stocks

Note: This was NOT a sponsored post, nor were we paid by any of the apps mentioned in this article. We just like to know what's going on in the world, and enjoy passing that on to you! :-)