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Data Spotlight – US options volume nearly doubles over the last 12 months

Nasdaq leads single stock options market share; MIAX growing fast 

By Chris Mendelson

In February 2021, single stock options on US options exchanges reached a total volume of 572.4 million contracts, an increase of 91.3% from February 2020. That growth comes after a significant increase in the prior year, too, with a 51.8% year-over-year increase between February 2020 and February 2019. 

Before May 2020, single stock options on US options exchanges had never surpassed 300 million contracts in total volume. But every month since then has recorded more than 300 million contracts in total volume. Single stock options surpassed 400 million contracts in total volume for the first time in June, and in December volume topped 500 million contracts. The highest volume on record was January 2021, with 583.4 million contracts bought and sold on exchanges. 

On an annual basis, 2020 was a record year for single stock options volume, with 4.44 billion contracts transacted across the 16 exchanges that list options. This was a 68.1% increase from the previous record year of 2019 which was 2.64 billion contracts. The latter half of 2020 was the stronger half in terms of volume, with 2.56 billion contracts recorded and an 88.2% increase from the second half of 2019. 

Single stock options volume by exchange 

Nasdaq exchanges held 37.2% of single stock options volume in February 2021, by far the biggest market share and virtually unchanged from its market share last year. Among individual US options exchanges, Nasdaq PHLX held the biggest share with just under 13.3%.  

Cboe exchanges held the second highest market share as a group at nearly 24.8%, a decrease from 31.0% in February 2020. Its largest venue, Cboe Options Exchange, held about 10.5% of the market, placing it third among individual exchanges — down significantly from a 14.6% share last year when it ranked as the No. 1 single stock options exchange.  

NYSE exchanges held the third-highest market share with about 19. 6%, up from 17.1% last year. NYSE Arca held 11.3% of the market, ranking it second among individual exchanges and up from 10.4% the prior year when it ranked fourth. 

MIAX exchanges held the fourth-highest market share at 14.2%, up from its nearly 11.0% share last year and the biggest market share gain year-over-year. 

BOX ranked last in market share in February 2021 at just under 4.3%, though that was up from 3.5% in February 2020. Its sole venue, Boston Options Exchange, ranked 12th out of the sixteen US options exchanges. 

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