Crowdfunding Statistics Worldwide: Market Development, Country Volumes, and Industry Trends

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
17 min read
By

Where last year’s worldwide crowdfunding statistics showed a market in rapid growth in all regions of the world, a recently published report displays a more varied situation. The three countries dominating the world’s crowdfunding market are still China, the United States, and the United Kingdom, but where the US and the UK still show impressive growth rates of 42.4% and 30.7%, respectively, the Chinese funding volume has dropped by -39.9%. However, China is still the market leader worldwide with a market share of 70.7%, followed by the US with 20.0%, and the UK with 3.4%. Next on the list, we find countries like the Netherlands, Indonesia, Germany, Australia, Japan, France, and Canada – all with significantly smaller market share.

This article will provide an overview of the worldwide market for crowdfunding, which includes financing models like P2P consumer lending and P2P business lendingreal estate crowdfundinginvoice tradingbalance sheet lendingequity-based crowdfunding, reward-based crowdfunding, donation-based crowdfunding, and more.

If you want a deeper explanation of the general phenomenon of crowdfunding before reading on, a good place to visit is this thorough article about the main crowdfunding models. Otherwise, we hope you will enjoy this walk-through of the global crowdfunding market with a focus on statistics and market developments.

The Global Market for Crowdfunding

Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) has been studying alternative finance and collecting data on the crowdfunding market since 2015. Up until 2019, CCAF only published regional market reports, but in 2020, the centre published its first global bench-marking report. The crowdfunding statistics presented below are based on these reports.

The data is collected through an annually distributed survey supplemented with web scrapping for a limited number of key platforms, why the most recent data available is inclusive of the 2018 calendar year. Overall, the study published in 2020 had responses from 1,227 unique firms, providing 2,322 firm-level observations globally, to which web scraping provided an additional 192 country-level entries.

As the name suggests, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance focuses on just that – alternative finance. However, since alternative finance is a somewhat amorphous term, and because the reports focus narrowly on various debt, equity and non-investment models that enable individuals, businesses and other entities to raise funds through an online marketplace/peer-to-peer platform, typically through pooled funds from a crowd or network of retail and/or professional investors, we have chosen to use this data as representative of the worldwide crowdfunding market.

Figures were reported in the platforms’ local currencies, why all data has been converted to USD using the historical average rate for 2018.

So, let’s get to it! How big is the global crowdfunding market?

Crowdfunding Worldwide: $304.53 bn
Active Countries/Territories: 171

To provide you with an overview, below you’ll find a graph showing the statistics of the overall worldwide market development in crowdfunding funding volumes from 2015-2018 in rounded numbers. We will nuance this data as we move along in the article.

What is especially worth noting is that we, for the first time since the data collection began, see a negative worldwide growth rate in 2018. After growing 108.6% in 2016 and 44.5% in 2017, the crowdfunding market fell by -27.3% from $419 bn in 2017 to $304.5 bn in 2018. This can, however, largely be ascribed to a large drop in crowdfunding activities in China, who accounted for 85.5% of the worldwide market in 2017. The drop in Chinese crowdfunding activities can largely be explained by stricter regulation in China and large scale frauds. In the regional section of this article, we will take a closer look at this and the prospects for crowdfunding and especially peer-to-peer lending in China.

If we remove China from the data, we get a completely different picture:

Since China still accounted for 71% of funding volumes in 2018, without China the picture we get is that of a much smaller market but a market in steady growth. Instead of a drop of -27.3%, the market without statistics from China grew by 48.3% from $60 bn in 2017 to $90 bn in 2018. In comparison, the market grew by 6.8% in 2016 and by 27.7% in 2017.

Now, before we dive into more details about how the data is distributed across different regions and countries, we will take a close look at the size of the different business models included in the study.

Worldwide Crowdfunding Statistics by Category

Since crowdfunding is still a relatively new phenomenon, there is not always consistency in how different terms are used and defined within the research. However, crowdfunding can generally be divided into four main categories:

In the study by CCAF, the researchers instead operate with three main categories as the latter two, reward-based crowdfunding and donation-based crowdfunding, are grouped under the category of non-investment business models. These are also sometimes referred to as non-financial return models. Thus, the CCAF has adopted a taxonomy of 14 different business models that can broadly be divided into debt models, equity models, and non-investment models. Below, you will find a figure summarizing the primary business models included in the study.

Category Business Model
Debt P2P/Marketplace Consumer Lending
  P2P/Marketplace Business Lending
  P2P/Marketplace Property Lending
  Balance Sheet Consumer Lending
  Balance Sheet Business Lending
  Balance Sheet Property Lending
  Invoice Trading
  Debt-based Securities
  Mini Bonds
Equity Equity-based Crowdfunding
  Real Estate Crowdfunding
  Profit Sharing
Non-investment Reward-based crowdfunding
  Donation-based crowdfunding

Continuous refining of the taxonomy is unavoidable because of the constant innovations within fintech, but this may also give rise to some confusion as, for example, equity is used both as a parent category and as a specific category to capture the purchase of equity issued by a company. Again, to be precise and avoid confusion, below you will find a short definition of each business model as provided by the CCAF.

Business Model Stakeholders
P2P/Marketplace Consumer Lending Individuals and/or institutional funders provide a loan to a consumer borrower.
P2P/Marketplace Business Lending Individuals and/or institutional funders provide a loan to a business borrower.
P2P/Marketplace Property Lending Individuals and/or institutional funders provide a loan, secured against a property, to a consumer or business borrower
Balance Sheet Consumer Lending The platform entity provides a loan directly to a consumer borrower.
Balance Sheet Business Lending The platform entity provides a loan directly to a business borrower.
Balance Sheet Property Lending The platform entity provides a loan, secured against a property, directly to a consumer or business borrower.
Invoice Trading Individuals or institutional funders purchase invoices or receivables from a business at a discount.
Debt-based Securities Individuals or institutional funders purchase debt-based securities, typically a bond or debenture, at a fixed interest rate.
Mini Bonds Individuals or institutions purchase securities from companies in the form of an unsecured bond which is ‘mini’ because the issue size is much smaller than the minimum issue amount needed for a bond issued in institutional capital markets.
Equity-based Crowdfunding Individuals or institutional funders purchase equity issued by a company.
Real Estate Crowdfunding Individuals or institutional funders provide equity or subordinated-debt financing for real estate.
Profit Sharing Individuals or institutions purchase securities from a company, such as shares, and share in the profits or royalties of the business.
Reward-based crowdfunding Backers provide funding to individuals, projects, or companies in exchange for non-monetary rewards or products.
Donation-based crowdfunding Donors provide funding to individuals, projects, or companies based on philanthropic or civic motivations with no expectation of monetary or material.

Alright, with that in place, we should be ready to dive into the crowdfunding statistics published in 2020!

For the reasons explained above, in the following, we will generally display cases both with and without China. We will start by looking at the distribution of funding volumes in terms of the overall crowdfunding category (Debt, Equity, or Non-investment).

Looking at the pie chart above, we see a clear dominance of Debt models that with a total of $297.64 bn accounts for 97.9% of all funds raised. This might come as a surprise to some, as Reward Crowdfunding and Donation Crowdfunding is often the business models the public associates with crowdfunding. However, we see that Non-investment models only account for only $1.52 bn or 0.5% of the worldwide crowdfunding volumes. At the same time, Equity models often get a lot of attention because of the hype evolved with raising funds from the public, but with $4.97 bn or 1.6% the Equity models account for only a tiny part of the funds raised through crowdfunding.

How does it look if we remove China from the equation?

Because China’s funding volume derives almost exclusively from Debt models, when removing China from the data set, we see a drop from 97.9% to 92.7% in the share coming from debt-based crowdfunding models. This, of course, leads to an increase in the funding volume coming from both Equity models (1.6% to 5.6%) and Non-investment models (0.5% to 1.7%). However, the overall picture remains the same in that Debt models still account for the dominant part of crowdfunding activities on a global level.

Worldwide Crowdfunding Statistics by Business Model

Because of the dominant position of the Debt category, it is useful to dissect the numbers further to gain an understanding of the relative size of the different business models.

Again, we will first look at the statistics for the global crowdfunding market. As can be seen from the bar chart below, these reveal that more than 80% of funding volumes come from peer-to-peer business lending and peer-to-peer consumer lending.

Especially peer-to-peer consumer lending with a total funding volume of $195.3 bn is dominant, which – again – is due largely to the Chinese market that derives 75.8% of its crowdfunding volume from peer-to-peer consumer lending. Next on the list after P2P/marketplace consumer lending and P2P/marketplace business lending, we find the three balance sheet lending models, followed by P2P/marketplace property lending and invoice trading. Ranked as number 8 with 1.0% of global crowdfunding volumes, real estate crowdfunding appears as the first equity model on the list. On rank 9, real estate crowdfunding is followed by equity-based crowdfunding with 0.5% of global volumes. The two non-investment models reward-based crowdfunding and donation-based crowdfunding are ranked as #11 and #12 accounting for 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively. 

Now, let’s have a look at how the statistics look if we again exclude China from the data:

As can be seen from the chart, in this case removing China from the data set brings some notable changes – especially within the debt category. P2P/marketplace consumer lending is still the largest business model in the data set, but now only accounts for 35.9% of worldwide funding volumes. All three balance sheet lending models have overtaken P2P/marketplace business lending, and real estate crowdfunding is now ranked as number 7 with a significantly larger market share of 3.3%. Equity-based crowdfunding is still ranked as number 9, but now with a market share of 1.7%. Excluding China from the data set, reward-based crowdfunding and donation-based crowdfunding both account for a larger share of the market but are still to be found at place 11 and place 12. Thus, contrary to what many might think, non-investment crowdfunding models do only make up a very small part of the total crowdfunding market – both with and without China. 

We will take a closer look at the different business models when we investigate the regional crowdfunding markets further down.

Top 30 Crowdfunding Countries in the World

Below, you will find a table showing the 30 countries with the largest market share within the crowdfunding industry. The table also includes the world’s total funding volume from crowdfunding that consists of data from all 171 countries/territories that took part in the study. As mentioned earlier in this article, the global crowdfunding market saw a drop in funding volume of -27,3%, falling from $419 bn in 2017 to $304.5 bn in 2018. However, as also discussed earlier, excluding China from the data, this drop instead turns into a global growth in crowdfunding volumes of 48.3% in 2018.

The table is again based numbers from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, and the number in parenthesis signifies last year’s ranking.

Regional Crowdfunding Markets

Crowdfunding in China & the Asia-Pacific

Even after a significant drop in crowdfunding volumes in 2018, China is still by far the largest crowdfunding market in the world with a global market share of 70.7%. China had negative growth of -39.9% in 2018, dropping from a yearly funding volume of $357.25 bn in 2017 to $215.4 bn. This also represents a break in the previously continuous trend of growth dating back to 2013 primarily caused by stricter regulation around peer-to-peer lending, which has resulted in several high-profile bankruptcies and platform closures.

The development of crowdfunding in China did not take off before 2013 and the impressive growth rates leading to the status of the world’s largest market have not come without consequences. Since late 2015, several crowdfunding platforms have been revealed as frauds and many others have been forced to close due to liquidity problems. Others again are pivoting away from P2P lending and other types of crowdfunding to focus on more traditional markets, like the retail investment market. Chinese authorities are still in the midst of enforcing a stricter regulation on crowdfunding platforms with a special focus on P2P lending, something that definitively played a role in the negative growth we saw in 2018 – and probably will continue to affect the volumes raised through crowdfunding in China negatively in the years to come. However, there is a very real demand for crowdfunding in China, and financing through crowdfunding still only accounts for a small part of the overall borrowing market leaving plenty of room for further growth after the many regulatory initiatives have been implemented. If interested, you can read more about the future of crowdfunding and P2P lending in China here: The Future of P2P Lending in China: Is There a Time After the Great Cleanup? Also, a closer look at the Chinese crowdfunding market can be found here: Crowdfunding in China: A Look at the World’s Largest Market.

Looking at the whole Asia-Pacific region, China accounted for more than 99% of the volume. It is, therefore, useful to investigate how the region has performed without China, which we will do in the following. Excluding China from the statistics, the wider Asia-Pacific region had a total crowdfunding volume of $6.12 bn, which represented a global market share of 2.0%, and the region experienced a strong yearly growth rate of 69.7%. This is a slight slowdown from 2017, where the yearly growth rate was 81.5%.

The countries from the Asia-Pacific region that made it into this year’s Global Top 30-list were:

  • China – ranked 1 with crowdfunding volume of 215.37 bn
  • Indonesia – ranked 5 with a crowdfunding volume of 1.45bn: Indonesia was this year’s high jumper, going from a number 30 on the list and a funding volume of $80.11 m in 2017 to number 5 and $1.45 bn in 2018.
  • Australia – ranked 7 with a crowdfunding volume of $1.17 bn.
  • Japan – ranked 8 with a crowdfunding volume of $1.07 bn.
  • South Korea – ranked 11 with a crowdfunding volume of $753.4 m.
  • India – ranked 14 with a crowdfunding volume of $547.4 m.
  • Singapore – ranked 16 with a crowdfunding volume of $499.7 m.
  • New Zealand – ranked 22 with a crowdfunding volume of $276.2 m.

Crowdfunding in the Americas: United States, Canada, Latin America & the Caribbean

Just like China in the Asia-Pacific region, the US is absolutely dominant in the Americas region where it has a market share of 96%. With a worldwide market share of 20.0% and a funding volume of $61.1 bn, the US is also the only real contender to China when looking at the global statistics. Next on the list in the Americas region is Canada with a global market share of 0.30%. However, after experiencing a strong growth rate of 159.4% in 2017, Canada’s growth has slowed significantly and was down to 4.80% in 2018, which also resulted in Canada falling from number 6 to number 10 on the list. Further down the list, we find five Latin American countries – Brazil as #13, Chile as #21, Mexico as #24, Colombia as #26, and Peru as #29 – that will also be interesting to follow in the coming years as both Latin America and the Caribbean continue to experience consistent strong growth rates.

Countries from the Americas region that made it into this year’s Global Top 30-list were:

  • United States – ranked 2 with a crowdfunding volume of $61.13 bn.
  • Canada – ranked 10 with a crowdfunding volume of $909.3 m.
  • Brazil – ranked 13 with a crowdfunding volume of $672.2 m.
  • Chile – ranked 21 with a crowdfunding volume of $289.3 m.
  • Mexico – ranked 24 with a crowdfunding volume of $233.4 m.
  • Colombia – ranked 26 with a crowdfunding volume of $192.5 m.
  • Peru – ranked 29 with a crowdfunding volume of $158.5 m.

You can read more about crowdfunding in the Americas region here: Crowdfunding in the Americas: USA, Canada, Latin America & the Caribbean.

Crowdfunding in the United Kingdom & Europe

Even though Europe has many players in crowdfunding, especially within peer-to-peer lending, compared to the Americas and the Asia-Pacific, it is, in general, a small region. However, the UK is placed firmly as number three in the world with a worldwide market share of 3.40% with a funding volume of $10.4 bn and has one of the most well-established markets for crowdfunding in the world. Another high jumper on the list in 2018 is the Netherlands, ranked 4 in the world after an impressive growth in 2018, which resulted in a leap of six places on the list and a total crowdfunding volume of $1.81 bn up from $311.0 m in 2017. Other fairly big markets for crowdfunding in Europe are Germany and France, which are placed as #6 and #9 with funding volumes of 1.28 bn and 933.1 m, respectively.

Europe is well-represented on the Global Top 30 list but besides the UK (and to a certain degree a few other countries) the region mostly includes countries with smaller funding volumes. Countries from the European region that made it into this year’s Global Top 30-list were:

  • United Kingdom – ranked 3 with a crowdfunding volume of $10.37 bn.
  • Netherlands– ranked 4 with a crowdfunding volume of $1.81 bn.
  • Germany – ranked 6 with a crowdfunding volume of $1.28 bn.
  • France– ranked 9 with a crowdfunding volume of $933.1 m.
  • Italy – ranked 15 with a crowdfunding volume of $532.6 m.
  • Spain – ranked 17 with a crowdfunding volume of $419.0 m.
  • Finland – ranked 18 with a crowdfunding volume of $379.2 m.
  • Poland – ranked 19 with a crowdfunding volume of $333.3 m.
  • Sweden– ranked 20 with a crowdfunding volume of $298.0 m.
  • Latvia – ranked 23 with a crowdfunding volume of $254.5 m.
  • Georgia – ranked 25 with a crowdfunding volume of $193.0 m.
  • Armenia – ranked 27 with a crowdfunding volume of $184.0 m.
  • Estonia – ranked 28 with a crowdfunding volume of $159.5 m.
  • Denmark – ranked 30 with a crowdfunding volume of $144.7 m.

You can read more about crowdfunding in Europe here: Crowdfunding in Europe: Market Size by Country and Finance Model.

The Middle East

In the sample, the Middle East consisted of entries from Jordan, Bahrain, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Palestine, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Qatar, Iran, Israel, Yemen, Iraq. Israel continues to be the market leader for crowdfunding in the Middle East and accounted for the largest funding volume in six out of nine business models in the region. Even with Israel in the data sample, the Middle East has some of the lowest regional crowdfunding in the world. If we remove Israel from the statistics, it becomes even clearer that the Middle East contributes very little to the global crowdfunding volume. It is possible that adherence to Islamic finance practices is constraining developments in lending, but at the same time there is great unfulfilled potential in developing middle-income economies like e.g. Jordan and Lebanon. Not surprisingly, Israel was the only country to make it into this year’s Global Top 30-list:

  • Israel – ranked 11 with a crowdfunding volume of $296.0 m.

Africa

After experiencing a decline in crowdfunding volumes of 42.8% in 2017, the region grew by 101.5% in 2018, from $103.8 m to $209.1 m. Platforms based outside Africa continues to be responsible for the largest share of crowdfunding in the region, but this year’s growth can also partially be attributed to the continued advance of platforms based inside Africa. The countries with the largest crowdfunding volumes in Africa are Zambia, Kenya, and South Africa. However, with yearly funding volumes in 2018 of $40 m, $35 m, and $27 m, respectively, none come close to making it into the Global Top 30-list.