Retail Investor

What is a retail investor?

Individual, non-professional investor

In finance, a retail investor is an individual, non-professional investor. Retail investors purchase assets, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, through brokerages and other financial institutions. Compared to those institutions' total portfolios, retail investors' individual investments are quite small. (Though you may not want to try telling a retail investor that.)

In early 2021, as a result of r/WallStreetBets users' run on GameStop stock, the term retail investor entered the public lexicon. Part of the reason GameStop's stock initially rose is that r/WallStreetBets allowed previously disconnected retail investors to coordinate their efforts and leverage their combined assets against poorly-positioned institutions. However, the term retail investor existed for years prior to the media's use of it to describe r/WallStreetBets users.


Most any normal person who invests in the stock market is a retail investor
Expect retail investors to keep making the news
Expect retail investors to keep making the news

Related Slang


Updated February 11, 2021

Retail investor definition by

This page explains what the slang term "Retail investor" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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