Amid volatility in the stock markets in 2020, infused by COVID-19 related uncertainties, many new retail investors ventured into trading and investment. Data from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) showed that the number of people registering for new Demat accounts in the financial year 2020-21 increased to a record high.
New dematerialized or Demat account additions rose to an all-time high of 10.7 million between April 2020 and January 2021. The increase seen has been more than double the new accounts opened in the financial year 2019-20 at 4.7 million. In January 2021 alone, 1.7 million new Demat accounts were added, the highest monthly increase since September 2019 when 1.9 million accounts were opened.
Around 4 million new accounts, each, were added in FY 2018-19 and FY 2017-18.
As of January, India's total Demat accounts stood at 51.5 million, compared to 40.8 million at the end of 31 March 2020 and 35.9 million in March 2019.
The spike in the number of Demat accounts has been attributed to joblessness and salary cuts after the pandemic-induced lockdown, as well as disposable income and free time due to work-from-home culture.