Day trading statistics: what is the success rate?

1 min readLast updated April 30, 2024by Rachel Carey

Uncover the realities of day trading by exploring crucial research and data that reveal its challenges and opportunities.


  • 40% of day traders quit within the first month, with only 13% remaining active after three years. 

  • In 2020, 72% of day traders experienced financial losses. 

  • The success rate of day trading using a breakout strategy is around 30%, indicating opportunities for capturing rapid market momentum. 

  • Stop-loss orders are used by 88% of traders as a day trading strategy to limit potential losses. 

Day trading statistics 

Day trading is an arena where traders navigate the daily highs and lows of the financial markets in pursuit of profit. Understanding the day trading statistics that define this landscape is crucial for anyone considering entering this dynamic world. 

One striking statistic is the attrition rate among day traders. Shockingly, 40% abandon their pursuits within the first month, while only 13% remain active after three years. This rapid turnover highlights the challenges inherent in day trading, from market complexities to the emotional toll of risk management. 

Despite this daunting statistic, the allure of day trading continues to draw in new participants.  

In recent years, the sector has witnessed a significant uptick in participation, with the percentage of American stock traders rising from 15% in 2019 to 25% in 2021. This increase in interest shows how day trading remains an attractive option for reaching financial goals. 

What is the day trading success rate? 

Day trading is often glamorized as a path to quick riches, but statistics reveal a sobering reality.  

Only 13% of day traders maintain consistent profitability over six months, and a mere 1% achieve long-term success over five years.  

Financial losses loom large.  

According to day trading data from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a staggering 72% of day traders experienced financial losses in a single year. Even among proprietary traders, profitability remains elusive, with only 16% reporting success and a mere 3% making profits in excess of $50,000 annually. 

What impact does gender have on day trading? 

While the percentage of women identifying as active traders has shown a promising increase, rising from 27% to 41%, the field remains predominantly male-dominated.  

According to day trading research reported by Zippia, 90.5% of day traders in the USA are male, compared to only 9.5% female. 

What impact does age have on day trading? 

At 58%, the majority of stock traders are aged 40 and above, bringing experience and resources to the table.  

Traders aged 30-40 account for 28% of the sector, while those in the 20-30 age bracket represent 14%.  

Despite day trading data showing the prevalence of older traders, there's a notable influx of younger individuals attracted to day trading seeking financial independence. 

What are the risks of day trading? 

While holding the promise of quick profits, the risks of day trading can be significant.  

Day trading research from 2020 reported that 72% of day traders experienced financial losses.  

Shockingly, only 3% of day traders manage to turn a profit consistently. Those who utilize margin for leverage suffer an average return of -4.53%, highlighting the potential for amplified losses.  

These statistics speak to the challenges and uncertainties inherent in day trading and emphasize the importance of risk management strategies to mitigate potential losses. 

What are some day trading strategies? 

The success rate of day trading is determined by utilizing a variety of strategies aimed at capitalizing on short-term market movements. 

One of the more popular day trading strategies is called breakout trading.  

This strategy involves identifying key price levels where significant breakout movements are likely to occur.  

A study conducted by the brokerage firm Tradeciety revealed that those who utilize breakout trading had a day trading success rate of 30%, indicating its effectiveness in capturing short-term market momentum. 

Another commonly used day trading strategy is trend-following, which involves identifying and riding market trends for profit.  

According to the same study by Tradeciety, traders who employed a trend-following strategy achieved a success rate of 20%.  

This strategy aims to capitalize on the momentum of established trends, making it particularly effective in trending markets. 

Risk management is essential for day traders to preserve capital and minimize losses.  

Stop-loss orders are a crucial tool used by 88% of day traders. These orders automatically trigger a sell order when a predetermined price level is reached, helping traders limit their downside risk and protect against significant losses. 

Position sizing is another essential aspect of risk management in a day trading strategy. 

 TD Ameritrade's brokerage firm found that 62% of day traders reported using position sizing as part of their risk management strategy.  

This strategy involves determining the appropriate allocation of capital for each trade based on risk tolerance and account size, helping traders manage their exposure and optimize risk-adjusted returns. 

Get expert financial advice 

Understanding day trading statistics provides valuable insights into the opportunities and challenges you may encounter.  

By leveraging this knowledge, you can navigate the complexities of day trading with greater insight and confidence.  

Employing day trading strategies with diligence, discipline, and a keen eye on the numbers will help to improve your day trading success rate and position yourself for success in this dynamic world. 

Before diving into day trading, remember to consult with a financial advisor for expert financial advice.  

Unbiased can match you with an SEC-regulated financial advisor who can tailor their advice to your specific financial goals and risk tolerance. 

Senior Content Writer

Rachel Carey

Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.