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Retail cash investments plummet by 77%, F&O doubles in 2023

15 January 20246 mins read by Angel One
This article delves into the seismic shift in retail investor behaviour, uncovering a 76.7% cash plunge and a 106.0% surge in F&O investments.
Retail cash investments plummet by 77%, F&O doubles in 2023
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The retail net investments in secondary markets exhibit significant fluctuations from 2022 to 2023. In 2022, retail investors poured a substantial amount into cash markets, reaching Rs 37,400 crore, while allocating Rs 24,800 crore in the futures and options (F&O) segment, resulting in a total investment of Rs 62,200 crore. However, the scenario changed drastically in 2023, as cash market investments plummeted to Rs 8,700 crore, reflecting a sharp decline of 76.7%. 

On the contrary, F&O investments surged impressively by 106.0%, soaring to Rs 51,100 crore. Despite the increase in F&O investments, the overall net investment dropped to Rs 59,800 crore, indicating a year-on-year change of -3.9%.

Retail Net Investments in Secondary Markets (April- November)

Year Cash (Rs crore) F&O (Rs crore) Total (Rs crore)
2022 37,400 24,800 62,200
2023 8,700 51,100 59,800
YoY change -76.7% 106.0% -3.9%

This trend suggests a noteworthy shift in retail investor preferences, as they seem to be moving away from cash markets and gravitating towards F&O instruments. The significant decline in cash market investments may be attributed to various factors, such as changes in market sentiment, economic conditions, or regulatory developments. 

On the other hand, the substantial increase in F&O investments could signify a growing appetite for risk and speculation among retail investors. It is crucial for market participants to closely monitor these trends, as they can offer valuable insights into the evolving dynamics of retail investor behaviour in the secondary markets.

Retail Month-wise performance

Month Cash (Rs crore) F&O (Rs crore)
Apr-23 -3,500 -3,900
May-23 -11,500 4,900
Jun-23 -6,100 700
Jul-23 -300 15,500
Aug-23 14,400 20,200
Sep-23 7,500 13,100
Oct-23 14,100 10,900
Nov-23 -5,900 -10,200

The month-wise performance data for retail investments in the secondary markets from April to November 2023 provides insights into the dynamic nature of retail investor activities. In April 2023, both cash and F&O segments experienced negative performances, with cash investments at Rs -3,500 crores and F&O investments at Rs -3,900 crores. May witnessed a significant decline in cash investments to Rs -11,500 crores, while F&O rebounded to Rs 4,900 crores, signalling a mixed trend. June continued this trend with negative cash investments at Rs -6,100 crores, albeit with a modest increase in F&O investments to Rs 700 crores.

July marked a turning point as cash investments improved to Rs -300 crores, indicating a reduction in negative cash flows, while F&O investments surged to Rs 15,500 crores, showcasing heightened interest in derivatives. August and October displayed positive momentum, with cash investments reaching Rs 14,400 crores and Rs 14,100 crores, respectively. In August, F&O investments peaked at Rs 20,200 crores, demonstrating a robust appetite for derivative instruments. September and November witnessed fluctuating trend in the flows (Rs 7,500 crores and Rs -5,900 crores).

The data reveals a diverse pattern of retail investor behaviour, with varying levels of risk appetite and preferences for cash or derivative instruments across different months. The positive cash flows in August and October coincide with the surge in F&O investments, implying a potential relationship between the two. These trends underscore the importance of monitoring monthly variations to gain a comprehensive understanding of retail investor sentiment and market dynamics.


The data reveals a significant shift in retail investor behaviour from cash to derivatives (F&O) between 2022 and 2023, with a 76.7% decline in cash investments and a 106.0% surge in F&O investments. Monthly fluctuations in the second table underscore the dynamic nature of retail investor sentiment, reflecting both positive and negative cash flows and corresponding changes in F&O investments. This suggests varying risk appetite, with positive cash flows in months like August and October coinciding with significant F&O investments, potentially indicating a preference for riskier assets or speculative trading. The observed shifts in behaviour may also be influenced by market events or regulatory changes, emphasizing the need for continuous monitoring.

Overall, the data highlights a dynamic landscape where retail investors actively adapt their strategies, emphasizing the importance of nuanced understanding for effective decision-making.

Disclaimer: This blog has been written exclusively for educational purposes. The securities mentioned are only examples and not recommendations. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet and is subject to changes. Please consult an expert before making related decisions.

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