Alternative Data by the Numbers

Last updated: April-4-2018

This page contains relevant facts and figures related to the alternative data industry for institutional investors. Unless otherwise noted, these figures are per internal estimates or based on our database of providers.

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Alternative Data Providers: 277

Median experience: 5 years

Median employees: 33


Alternative Data industry projected to be worth $350mm in 2020

  • Market size for alternative data estimated between $183 – $200mm in 2016, and projected to double in 4 years. (Value Walk – subscription requiredQuartz)

Percentage of funds that use or expect to use alternative data: 78%, per EY Global HF and Investor Survey (up from 52% in 2016)

Percentage of firms with a Dedicated Data Lead: 42%, per Jefferies Prime Services

Percentage of all data in circulation created in last two years: 90%, per IBM

Percentage of buy-side employees that will require fundamental retraining to improve data and analytics capabilities: 40%, per Morgan Stanley and Oliver Wyman

Data source with greatest number of providers: Social / Sentiment Data

Highest grossing data source: Credit / Debit Card Data

Five most popular data types: Social  / Sentiment Data, Private Company Data, Credit Card Data, Supply chain data, and Web data, per EY Global HF and Investor Survey 


Alternative Data Provider Landscape


Buy-side Full Time Alternative Data Employees
  • The number of alternative data FTEs has grown ~450% in last 5 years.
  • Most alternative data FTEs have 11+ years experience and do not have graduate degrees.
  • Tech, Academia, and Data Providers are quickly becoming main channels for sourcing alternative data FTEs.
  • Cost of an alternative data team starts at $1.5 – $2.5m.
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