Alternative Data by the Numbers

We leverage our network of thousands of investors and data providers to conduct objective analyses on the size and trends of the alternative data industry.

Industry Stats

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

Looking for a figure not on this page? Email us: data@alternativedata.org

General Industry Stats

  • Alternative Data Providers: 375
  • Median experience: 5 years
  • Median employees: 33
  • 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 all data in circulation created in last two years: 90%, per IBM

Alternative Data Provider Landscape

Spend in Alternative Data

  • 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)

Buy-side full-time alternative data employees

  • The number of alternative data FTEs has grown ~450% in last 5 years.
  • Percentage of buy-side employees that will require fundamental retraining to improve data and analytics capabilities40%, per Morgan Stanley and Oliver Wyman
  • 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.
  • Percentage of firms with a Dedicated Data Lead: 42%, per Jefferies Prime Services

Alternative data performance

  • Data source with the 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