Using Randomized, Representative Surveying Data to Model $GME Ownership Among the U.S. Adult Population

CategoriesGME

From: https://www.reddit.com/r/Superstonk/comments/o2cnd4/using_randomized_representative_surveying_data_to/?context=3

***PLEASE DON’T LAUNCH YOUR OWN SURVEY FOR THE U.S. USING GCS … A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE DOING THIS AND IT MAY OVER-SATURATE THE PLATFORM AND START IMPACTING RESULTS.***

\**None of this is financial advice. I am not a financial advisor. My personal approach to investing in GameStop is to buy using a cash account at a reputable broker, to only invest what I am comfortable losing, and to strictly use a Buy and Hold approach. I also try to be a loyal customer of GameStop, making GS my preferred retailer for any product they might sell.****

I have a bit of a revisions to this post impacting the 400MM number.

*****I’ve conservatively revised the number from the survey to account for coupled housholds (married or cohabiting). Details in edit #4 below (and at end).****

Net revision, using new assumptions:

Survey results suggest minimum of 127.57MM shares for U.S. adults. I realize it’s a big revision, but here’s how I got there.

This revision (which accounts for couple-led households, as explained below) is very conservative as it does not count scenarios where both partners own GME, or situations where households are led by roommates. In other words, a roommate would likely not say they own shares based on their roommates ownership, whereas a husband or wife conceivably could). This also assumes every non-owner in a couple would answer affirmatively to ownership (I removed half of all individuals in coupled households from the sample size, even though some might answer no if it is their partner would owns shares, but not them. So this revision is the most conservative approach I can take to this consideration.

Edit #4: IMPORTANT UPDATE

So I just thought of something. I’m using 209MM adults, but it is possible for someone in a couple to get this question, and answer yes for the couple. So 209MM needs to come down, probably by half of the total coupled-households in the U.S. This is very conservative since I know there are probably plenty of households where both spouses own GME, and they are discounted completely.

About 150MM people live in a coupled-household in the U.S., and 59 million live alone. So instead of 209MM, a better number to use is 75MM (half coupled HH) + 59 million singe=134.24MM.

This would also affect the ownership %, which should be cut in half. So use 2.665%.

2.665% of 134.24MM is 3,577,496 owners x avg. shares of 35.66=127.57MM shares for U.S. adults (ignoring married households where both spouses own shares, and completely ignores anything about 101).

TL;DR is at the end, but for anyone who is interested, here’s the scenic route …

A little more than a week ago, I created a Reddit post that suggested at LEAST 125 million shares of $GME were owned:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Superstonk/comments/nueo4y/evidence_supports_at_least_125000000_gme_shares

The post was an aggregate of the most current, publicly available data, including institutional ownership, ETFs/mutual funds, insider ownership, etc. I also included U.S.-based household ownership, but I had to use some estimated numbers but for the simple fact that these numbers simply don’t exist publicly (namely % of ownership among the population and average shares held).

Even though I took a strictly conservative approach to these estimates (individual ownership), and even though the complete removal of this number still left an ownership level of greater than 100 million shares, I strongly suspected the U.S. individual investor number was wildly off. In other words, this number wasn’t good enough for the people who read and commented on my post, and, quite frankly, this number wasn’t good enough for me either. Therefore, I decided to build a very basic research project to better model the ownership of $GME shares among the U.S. adult population.

My Thesis:

More than 75 million GameStop shares are owned by individual investors in the U.S. alone.

My Methodology:

To prove this thesis, I opted to model individual investor ownership among the U.S. adult population by conducting a randomized, representative survey using Google Consumer Surveys (GCS). The U.S. adult population (209 million strong) is widely believed to be the largest block of individual retail investors. Therefore, the premise of this research is that if data can conclusively demonstrating ownership of 75 million shares or more within this single cohort, it would constitute proof of more than 75 million shares owned among the whole of the world.

More about Google Consumer Surveying: https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/surveys/

What is Representative, Randomized sampling and why does it make sense for this project?

Representative sampling allows researchers to understand the behaviors and/or characteristics of a population by identifying the behaviors and/or characteristics of a subset of the population. In the case of this research, this was done through a randomized, internet-based survey that asked a very simple question about the status of $GME share ownership.

Results from this survey to draw conclusions about the behaviors and characteristics of a wider group, in this case, the whole of the U.S. adult population. In combination with randomized sampling, it’s possible to understand things about a population of millions by surveying only hundreds or thousands of individuals.

Representative, randomized sample is especially valuable to simply, binary data (do own, don’t own), as well as grouping (how many shares owned). Given this, and the affordability of GCS as a surveying tool ($.10/sample), this approach was sensible.

GSC also makes crowd-sourcing of additional data easy and accessible to everyone (more on this in the Criticisms and Biases section).

More about Representative and Random Sampling:

https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/042915/whats-difference-between-representative-sample-and-random-sample.asp

The Results of the Survey:

https://preview.redd.it/3mtmyrgk2x571.png?width=2562&format=png&auto=webp&s=6c70615f70c247b00ec0c9fafd21acde17305ae6

https://preview.redd.it/mszu5gfh2x571.png?width=2252&format=png&auto=webp&s=8dba2d38b2f3f9b15333d81df696a349f58354df

https://preview.redd.it/8apz5wym2x571.png?width=1370&format=png&auto=webp&s=31691596293a8ea257a373b4f68ef85a1671233e

https://preview.redd.it/kt2o2j3x2x571.png?width=526&format=png&auto=webp&s=dd04b5a022692f5bb576c8e3e59f4688f16ac4f0

What do these results mean?

Among the 300 survey responses received (U.S. adult population-based), results suggest:

• 5.33% of respondents indicated they currently own shares of GameStop

• 1% of respondents indicated they don’t currently own shares of GameStop, but have in the past

• 93.66% of respondents indicated they have never owned shares of GameStop

When extrapolating these numbers to the wider U.S. adult population of 209 million, the inference is:

• 11.15 million U.S. adults currently own shares of GameStop

• 3 million U.S. adults owned shares of GameStop at some point in the past, but not currently

• 195.76 million U.S. adults have never owned shares of GameStop

Ownership was only one component of the survey. Participants were also asked to indicate their level of ownership by selecting from one of five buckets of shares owned (5 or fewer, 6 to 20, 21 to 50, 51 to 100, 101+). Using a midrange for the first four buckets (2.5, 13, 35, 75), and using an ultra-conservative cap of 101 for the fifth bucket* (important details about this in the Criticisms and Biases section), we can arrive at an average number of shares held among individual U.S. adult population shareholders:

(17.5+39+35+75+404) shares/16 owners = 35.66 average shares owned*

To extrapolate these results to the wider U.S. adult population (209 million) … the survey data suggests there are 11.15 million $GME owners among the U.S. adult pop. with an average of 35.66 shares per owner. By multiplying the number of owners by the average number of shares owned, indications are that at least 397.61 million shares of GameStop are held by U.S. adults. Given the inherent biases in the study’s design (discussed below), I present the above number with a high level of confidence.

Let me repeat that one more time … indications of this research are that at least 397.61 million shares of GameStop are held by U.S. adults. This is a lowball estimate, and you’ll see why below.

Criticisms and Biases

It is very difficult to design a study without bias, especially when working with limited time, resources, and funds. Bias can occur at any stage of a research project, including how the study is designed, written, conducted, etc. This research is not without room for criticism, and it definitely includes bias (by design in some cases).

All this said, it’s important to recognize how biases can impact the outcome of a research project or even a particular survey. Below are several biases and criticisms I observe with this research. In reviewing and considering this work, if you discover any others, please drop a comment and let me know.

The Impact of Bias

The impact of bias on data, particularly in representative surveying, can result in one of two things: overrepresentation or underrepresentation. Sometimes it’s possible to understand the impact. In fact, sometimes it’s possible (and good research design) to intentionally build in specific bias in order to produce conservative results. This is particularly useful in trying to prove out the thesis of this particular research, that is, determining whether ownership of GameStop shares is above or below 75 million shares.

As an example of the impact of design bias, if I want to know how many people in the U.S. play Fortnight using a representative survey, and I have a sample of 100 people, but 80 of them are ages 65+, I have a strong age bias as this isn’t representative of the total population. Furthermore, the results will likely be skewed to the downside since the ages 65+ cohort is less likely to play Fortnite than an ages 18-24 cohort.

Specific Criticisms and Biases

There are several criticisms and biases to be highlighted regarding this research. Let’s go through them one at a time:

— Google Consumer Surveys Platform

GCS is usually used for determining consumer preferences … things like do you prefer this or that product, this or that packaging design, etc. GCS is incentivized, meaning survey participants are rewarded for completing a survey (in this case, access to premium content and Google Play credit. This creates the potential for participants to “no brain” their responses, which has the potential to skew results, or generate inaccurate results.

In the case of this research, I believe the potential for this impact is minimal. For one thing, “no-braining” usually results in an abnormally high number of top-of-the-box responses. In looking at the distribution of the responses received, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Distribution is sensible. One might reasonably expect 7 individuals to own 5 or fewer shares in a population of 16 total owners.

— Sample Size (Yes, more Is better … and there’s a plan for that!)

A lot of people might be surprised by how few samples are required to accurately model even the largest of populations. In fact, there is not much of a difference in margin of error between 1,000 samples and 10,000 samples when modeling a population of 100 million or more. It should be highlighted that this is not scientific research, and we’re not necessarily seeking a high level of precision in the data. A margin of error of 4-6% is certainly acceptable given the “tip of the iceberg” nature of the research, and the aims of the original thesis.

That said, this research includes the participation of 300 individuals. Assuming a confidence level of 95% (meaning 95 of 100 survey respondents will provide a truthful and accurate response), this research has a margin of error of 5.66%.

But it is never my intent that this be the final data set. In fact, I’ve already launched a separate survey, targeting another 400 samples. Below is a snapshot of this second survey in progress. As you can see, the results are strikingly similar to the results of the previous 300 samples. Ownership is clocking in at 6.45% (compared to initial results of 5.33%) and average shares owned of 34.18 (compared to initial results of 35.66). I will combine these results with the original 300 and update this post once this second survey completes (I’d guess 3-5 days from now).

Round 2 In Progress … Here are the first 217 of 400 responses being collected now.

Furthermore, I encourage anyone who is interested in this project to consider conducting their own surveying using GCS. It only requires a Google account and a credit card. Each sample is $.10, so $10 per 100 samples. Not only will this provide individuals with the data to validate my results, but individuals can also choose to send their data my way. I can validate it against mine, and if it checks out, I can then add to the 700 responses I will soon have in hand, thus increasing the overall dataset (and lowering an already low margin of error). If this is something you are interested in doing, please first reach out to me and I will coordinate interested parties as we don’t want to overwhelm the GCS platform with GameStop surveys.

In all honesty, the existing dataset provides me with a very high level of confidence that hundreds of millions of shares are owned by U.S. investors (to say nothing of foreign investors, institutional investors, etc.). While I feel n=700 is an appropriate sample size for this type of research, I imagine 1,200-1,500 samples would satisfy even the most bearish critic (assuming they understand how surveying and statistical analysis works).

— Sample Bias (Age)

This was briefly touched on earlier, but as seen below, there is some bias in terms of age. This bias likely has resulted in an underestimation of ownership since the age group over-represented (55-64) is less likely to own shares in GameStop than the group underrepresented (ages 25-34). I suspect the impact of this bias is moderate. But again, this bias is likely to result in the “shares owned” conclusions to be a smidge lower than it would be if there was no age bias in the survey’s sample group.

https://preview.redd.it/s0joi08q6x571.png?width=1700&format=png&auto=webp&s=6bb5478860e55d5db544582cc7358c0cc4140236

— Sample Bias (Gender)

Like the example above, there is a slight overrepresentation of males compared to females in the survey’s sample group. Males are more likely to own shares in GameStop than females, so this is likely to result in an overestimation of ownership. Again, I suspect the impact of this bias to be minimal as the bias (see Bias Table above) is only +/- 3.7%.

— Collection Method Bias (Google Consumer Survey)

In order to participate in a GCS, a person needs to be online. Although the vast majority is online, this is still a consideration as we can assume individuals with no access to the internet are less likely to be individual shareholders in any company, let alone $GME. Given how ubiquitous internet access is among the U.S. population, I’d assume the impact of this bias is completely negligible, but I point this one out only as a matter of thoroughness.

— Question Bias

This is a big one! If you notice, I cap the question of ownership share count at 101+. This is entirely intentional (remember, “tip of the iceberg” design). This also means the average number of shares held is a lowball number (perhaps big time). In the 300 samples, there were 4 individuals who indicated they owned 101+ shares of GameStop. Consider this … if just one of these individuals owned twice the capped shares, so 202 (let’s just assume the only 3 owned exactly 101 shares), the average share calculation moves from 35.66 avg. shares owned to 41.97 avg. shares owned. Now imagine if one of these four individuals might own 2,000 shares. All this is to say, regardless of how many they own, the average shares owned calculation doesn’t factor in anything beyond 101 shares, meaning the average shares owned is definitely a lowball number (and could be greatly low-balled). So definitely know that the numbers I am showing here are “at minimum” numbers.

Obviously, the above biases can result in either overestimating ownership or underestimating ownership. The table below shows what the implied effect is of each of the above biases:

https://preview.redd.it/fagt3x2p3x571.png?width=870&format=png&auto=webp&s=d383d2faa76c9aa26fc4affd3fafa29589579682

What to Expect in the Comments

When I first started gathering this information, I posted an early result (I think about the first 98 responses). I did this for a couple of reasons … first, I was excited by the results and what they implied, and I wanted to share them with others. Second, I wanted to understand what some of the criticisms might be. Of course, the sample size was a big one. Again, I don’t think most people realize how effective a sample of only a few hundred is in modeling even a large population. That said, I accept this criticism … the plan was always to conduct more surveying myself, and also invite others to do the say (crowdsourcing, yeah).

There was also a bit of criticism of my holding the methodologies close to the chest. I did this because I did want to risk a flood of other $GME surveys hitting the GCS platform and potentially skewing my results. So there were several questions about the design and rigors of this research, and I hope I’ve answered those questions here.

But aside from these very valid and reasonable comments and questions, there was some clear shilling going on. I’ve made several posts as these results have come in, and I’ve had several private messages in which people are requesting that I give up conducting this research. The arguments I’ve heard are varied, from there is no value to what I am doing to this sort of research proves nothing. I’ve even heard the argument that I’ll be giving away valuable information to short hedge funds. To these criticisms I say this … yes, there is value to this research … this is quantitative data that provides a high level of confidence. In fact, if the trends hold in the data across a sample size of 1,000+, I feel 100% comfortable calling these results conclusive. In fact, I feel pretty confident of this sort of a statement already — but would always welcome more data.

At any rate, if you have a criticism to make of this project, please do so. But be clear about what is wrong and suggest how it might be improved (I know, more samples). Please refrain from comments like, “This means nothing,” or “This doesn’t prove anything.” Those sorts of statements are, well … both shilly and silly.

In Conclusion

There is obviously a lot of different ways to slice this data (want to know which age group was mostly likely to paperhand at some point in the past, etc.), and I may dive deeper at some point. In the meantime, I welcome any constructive criticism, as well as inquiries from anyone interested in contributing their own data set.

In case there are any questions about my background, I routinely design and conduct consumer-based research as a part of my job. I have created hundreds of surveys and surveyed hundreds of thousands of individuals over my career. But this one has been a lot of fun, and I’m happy to be able to finally have some hard data to back up the claim that there are more owned than Outstanding when it comes to $GME. We all already knew this to be true, but now we have some hard data to back it up. And as we hopefully grow this dataset, no one will be able to deny the truth.

…………………………………………

Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL:DR) —

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Extrapolating results from a randomized, representative consumer survey of 300 U.S. adults infers a minimum of 397.6 million shares of GameStop are owned by the wider U.S. adult population. Total Outstanding Shares of $GME is roughly 75 million.

I created a randomized, representative survey using Google Consumer Surveys, collecting 300 responses to model $GME ownership among the U.S. adult population. I intentionally designed the survey to produce extremely conservative results, anticipating the best approach was to design something that intentionally underestimated ownership. I call this the “tip of the iceberg” approach. In other words, if research results can show ownership of more than 75 million shares among only a single group, surely the ownership among all groups greatly exceeds the total available shares of GameStop (about 75 million).

Among the 300 (U.S. adult population-based) survey responses received, indications are:

https://preview.redd.it/d2dv29olx7671.png?width=1630&format=png&auto=webp&s=e603161a760fe08e0d1ed0292d0c34b23ec928f0

5.33% of respondents indicated they currently own shares of GameStop

1% of respondents indicated they don’t currently own shares of GameStop, but have in the past

93.66% of respondents indicated they have never owned shares of GameStop

When extrapolating these numbers to the wider U.S. adult population of 209 million, we arrive at these numbers:

11.15 million U.S. adults currently own shares of GameStop

3 million U.S. adults owned shares of GameStop at some point in the past, but not currently

195.76 million U.S. adults have never owned shares of GameStop

Ownership was only one component of the survey. Participants were also asked to indicate their level of ownership by selecting from one of five buckets of shares owned (5 or fewer, 6 to 20, 21 to 50, 51 to 100, 101+). Using a midrange for the first four buckets (2.5, 13, 35, 75), and using an ultra-conservative cap of 101 for the fifth bucket* (important details about this in the Criticisms and Biases section), we can arrive at an average number of shares held among individual U.S. adult population shareholders:

(17.5+39+35+75+404) shares/16 owners = 35.66 average shares owned*

*Due to the intentional cap of the fifth bucket at 101, this average is undoubted far below the actual number. In other words, if someone who selected 101+ actually holds 280 shares, only the first 101 shares are being factored into the above average. Accordingly, it’s easy to see how the above average is strongly biased toward an underestimation of shares held.

To recap, the survey data suggests there are 11.15 million $GME owners among the U.S. adult population with an average of 35.66 shares per individual. Therefore, we can multiply the number of owners by the average number of shares owned, and we can confidently model that a least 397.61 million shares of GameStop are held by U.S. adults.

Again — extrapolating the provided survey results, data strongly suggest a minimum of 397.6 million shares of GameStop are owned by U.S. adults. Total Outstanding shares of $GME is roughly 75 million.

…………………………….

Edit #1: I’ve had someone reach out via PM and let me know they are running a 1,500 sample on Google Consumer Survey with this survey. I still have one running to finish up my 400. So there will soon be a sample size of 2,200. Until at least my 400 sample completes (maybe a few days), I don’t know that any additional GCSs running will be of great benefit (don’t want to overrun the platform). But if you are interested in queuing up, just let me know. Someone in the comments mentioned data from other platforms, and I think that’s smart. But like GCS, wouldn’t want to overrun a platform.

…………………………….

Edit #2: I’ve had a couple of people reaching out to ask if they can see the results. Here’s the link for the survey that’s currently collecting, as well as the initial survey, if anyone is interested:

First survey:

https://surveys.google.com/reporting/survey?survey=sv2uhkuhypyl6olmiokx2zzkma

Currently running survey:

https://surveys.google.com/reporting/survey?survey=gei6t23feekehqpuxr5woosr5a

Just make sure you view the unweighted (raw) results. Simply click on the survey, then click the Raw Slider:

We only want the Raw counts … we’re not concerned with weighted results for this specific research.

I also had several people reach out with idea of running this survey in different countries, or for a different stock ($AMC specifically). I think both of these ideas are good, although I am probably tapped on the resources I’m putting toward this (honestly, I’ve already seen all I need to see — this is conclusive evidence in my mind). As I mentioned in my note back to this particular individual, it will be important to adjust the buckets logically for another stock according to its total outstanding shares as compared to GME (i.e., AMC has something like 8X the outstanding shares as $GME, so the first questions should be 40 or few shares, and of course, all other share buckets would have to be adjusted accordingly).

One other thing … someone reached out and had launched this survey in Canada and it was rejected because it was a financial question. Google has a review process for these surveys, and I haven’t run into any issues here in the U.S., so the laws may be different according to country/region. If you try to launch a survey in a country other than the U.S. and it is rejected, I’d appreciate it if you could drop me a line, as I am curious about this.

……………………….

Edit #3: u/dlegal has started a survey of 500 for the Canadian population. The survey isn’t complete yet, but here’s the public link: https://surveys.google.com/reporting/survey?hl=en-US&survey=4dluebb6uk2lrdhatugzmxhoia

As things stand at 240/500, the ownership rate is 12% (expect this to come down as more results come in) and the average shares held is 36.9. The adult population of Canada is 30.9 million. Extrapolating the 12% provides for about 370.8K $GME owners among Canadian adults. So with an average of 36.9 shares, that’s roughly 13.68MM shares held by Canadian investors.

……………………..

Edit #4: IMPORTANT UPDATE

I did just think of something. I’m using 209MM adults, but it is possible for someone in a couple to get this question, and answer yes for the couple. So 209MM needs to come down, probably by half of the total coupled-households in the U.S. This is very conservative since I know there are probably plenty of households where both spouses own GME, and they are discounted completely.

About 150MM people live in a coupled-household in the U.S., and 59 million live alone. So instead of 209MM, a better number to use is 75MM (half coupled HH) + 59 million singe=134.24MM.

This would also affect the ownership %, which should be cut in half. So use 2.665%.

2.665% of 134.24MM is 3,577,496 owners x avg. shares 35.66=127.57MM shares for U.S. adults (ignoring married households where both spouses own shares, and completely ignores anything about 101).

…………………….

Edit #5: Numbers For Netherlands from u/Fast_Sandwich6034

https://surveys.google.com/reporting/question?hl=en-US&survey=w2wr6hjmiac53nv7sxyowta3hy&question=1&raw=true&transpose=false&tab=chart&synonyms=true

Using an adult population of 13.3MM, reduced to 8.8MM (to account for coupled households) * ownership of 7.5%, reduced to 5% (coupled-households) = 440,000 GME owners * average shares of 22.3=

9.8MM shares owned (minimum) for Dutch retail investors.

If I have made any maths mistakes, please let me know.

Also, there does look to be a strong under representation of 65+ in the sample, so the number above is likely higher than it should be (by maybe 10-20%) since 65+ is less likely to own $GME generally.

So maybe revise down to 7.7MM to be conservative.

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