Interactive Investor

Top 10 most-purchased ETFs in December 2023

A strong end to the year for American shares prompted an increase in demand for ETFs tracking US and global markets.

2nd January 2024 15:31

by Sam Benstead from interactive investor

Share on

Most-popular ETFs 600

Investors added to their holdings in US and global exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in December, as American shares rose nearly 5% in the final month of the year, taking their annual gain to nearly 20% in sterling terms.

The most-bought ETFs last month were both from indexing giant Vanguard and both tracked the S&P 500 index of America’s largest companies. Top was Vanguard S&P 500 Ucits ETF (dist) and second was Vanguard S&P 500 Ucits ETF (acc). Both cost 0.07% in annual fees, but the most-popular ETF pays dividends, while the second-most popular reinvests them.

Another US ETF also made the list: iShares Core S&P 500 Ucits ETF was the eighth-most bought ETF in December. Like the Vanguard trackers, it costs just 0.07%.

Three global ETFs, where about two-thirds of the portfolios are in US shares, also made the most-popular ETF list.

They were iShares Core MSCI World Ucits ETF (third place), Vanguard FTSE All World Ucits ETF (fourth place) and Vanguard FTSE Developed World Ucits ETF (10th place).

The charges on the ETFs are 0.2%, 0.22% and 0.12%, respectively. The best performer over one year is Vanguard FTSE Developed World Ucits ETF, returning 17%, and the best performer over three years is iShares Core MSCI World Ucits ETF, returning 32.7%.

The main difference between the three is that Vanguard FTSE All World Ucits ETF also invests in emerging markets, which accounts for about 10% of the strategy.

Another strategy making the list that is also heavily invested in American companies was the Invesco EQQQ Nasdaq 100 Ucits ETF, which tracks the 100 biggest stocks on the tech-heavy Nasdaq index. Strong returns from the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Nvidia made it one of the top ETFs of 2023, returning 46%.

Just one UK tracker fund made the list: iShares Core FTSE 100 Ucits ETF, in fifth place. The ETF rose nearly 8% over the past 12 months, with around half of that return coming from dividend reinvestment. 

Gold was also a popular investment in December, with the iShares Physical Gold ETC proving the most-popular route to own the precious metal.

Spurred by geopolitical tensions and expectations for lower interest rates in 2024, gold is on a strong run and this ETF is up 7.3% over one year and 16.5% over three years.

The final ETF on the list was WisdomTree FTSE 100 3x Daily Leveraged. This ETF amplifies the gains and losses of the FTSE 100 index. It is generally designed for day traders and not suitable for investors who plan to hold it for more than one trading session. Find out why here.

Dropping off the most-bought ETF list this month were Vanguard FTSE 100 Ucits ETF and Lyxor Smart Overnight Return ETF.  

Top 10 most-popular ETFs in December 2023 

PositionETFChange on last monthOne-year return (%)Three-year return (%)
1Vanguard S&P 500 Ucits ETF (dist)No change18.941.7
2Vanguard S&P 500 Ucits ETF (acc)Up one18.941.7
3iShares Core MSCI World Ucits ETFDown one16.932.7
4Vanguard FTSE All World Ucits ETFUp two16.228
5iShares Core FTSE 100 Ucits ETFDown one7.833.4
6Invesco EQQQ Nasdaq 100 Ucits ETFUp one46.142.1
7iShares Physical Gold ETCUp three7.316.5
8iShares Core S&P 500 Ucits ETFNew entry18.841.5
9Wisdom Tree FTSE 100 3x Daily LeveragedDown four7.366.8
10Vanguard FTSE Developed World Ucits ETFNew entry1731.8

Source: FE FundInfo/interactive investor,  2 January 2024. The top 10 is based on the number of “buys” during the month of December 2023.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.

Related Categories

    ETFsUK sharesNorth AmericaEuropeEmerging markets

Get more news and expert articles direct to your inbox