Portfolio considerations

Vast cash flows validate advantages of ETFs

March 18, 2022

Matthew Goller

Senior Product Manager, Fixed Income Indexing

The strength of ETFs
Industrywide, ETF inflows have soared over the last decade
A bar chart shows annual cash flows into ETFs between 2012 and 2021. Following are year-by-year figures: 2012, $190 billion; 2013, $189 billion; 2014, $244 billion; 2015, $243 billion; 2016, $269 billion; 2017, $465 billion; 2018, $309 billion; 2019, $332 billion; 2020, $505 billion; and 2021, $908 billion.
Core equities exposure led in 2021
Where record ETF inflows are going

Cash flows into U.S. equity ETFs were significantly higher in 2021 than for other ETF categories

A bar chart shows the net cash flows into exchange-traded funds by asset class for 2020 and 2021. The cash flow into U.S. equity ETFs were significantly higher than the flows into other categories of ETFs. Specifically, U.S. equity ETFs attracted $391 billion in new investments in 2021, up 197 percent from $132 billion in 2020. Following are the net cash flows into four other categories in 2021 and 2020 and the rate of year-to-year change. Taxable bond ETFs: $189 billion in 2021, down 4 percent from $196 billion. International equity ETFs: $165 billion in 2021, up 422 percent from $30 billion. Sector equity ETFs: $104 billion in 2021, up 46 percent from $71 billion. Municipal bond ETFs: $21 billion in 2021, up 44 percent from $14 billion.
Bond ETFs prove resilient
ETFs are here to stay
Vanguard ETFs represent almost every marketplace
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