4 minute read 15 Apr 2021
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IPO Q1 2021: Why record-breaking quarter may spur candidates to act

By Paul Go

Asia-Pacific EY Private Assurance Leader

Leads Chinese and multinational companies in client servicing domain. Heads Hong Kong real estate, hospitality and construction sector audit group.

4 minute read 15 Apr 2021

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  • EY Q1 2021 global IPO trends report (pdf)

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The global IPO market started 2021 on a high, breaking records. IPO candidates should consider acting while the transaction window is still open.

In brief
  • Q1 2021 global IPO volumes rose 85% and proceeds rose 271% year-on-year.
  • Special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) IPOs were more active in Q1 2021 than through all of 2020. 
  • Q1 2021 was the best performing first quarter in 20 years.

With markets awash with liquidity, global IPO deal numbers and proceeds have posted the best performance in 20 years. This is before we include the SPAC IPOs, which in Q1 alone completed more deals and raised more proceeds than the record-breaking full year of 2020.

Despite this, investor sentiment remains fragile. There is fear of a market correction on the horizon, with uncertainties over possible new waves of the pandemic stalling the economy recovery, the speediness of the vaccination program roll-out and the potential disruption to the financial system caused by banks scaling back on leverage offered to professional investors.​

Companies in the right sector, with the right story and that are well prepared, will want to catch the open IPO window now. 

Download our latest quarterly IPO report

Our Q1 2021 IPO report provides deeper analysis and insights, including regional and country data.

Explore the data (pdf)

Liquidity fueled record IPO markets in Q1 2021

To get more insight into the steps companies need to take to maximize their chances of IPO success, download our Guide to Going Public (pdf).

  • Data definitions for all charts

    The data presented on this webpage and in the Global IPO trends: Q1 2021 (i.e., January—March) and YTD 2021 (January—March) is based on completed IPOs as of 24 March 2021 and expected IPOs in March (i.e., expected to start trading by 31 March). Data is up to 25 March 2021, 9 a.m. UK time.

    • In compiling the IPO statistics included in these reports and press releases, we focus only on IPOs of operating companies and define an IPO as a ‘company's offering of equity to the public on a new stock exchange’. 
    • This report includes only those IPOs for which Dealogic and EY teams offer data regarding the first trade date (the first day on which the security start trading on a stock exchange), and proceeds (funds raised, including any over-allotment sold). 
    • The first trade date determines which quarter a deal is attributed to. Postponed IPOs, or those that have not yet been priced, are therefore excluded. Over-the-counter (OTC) listings are also excluded.
    • In an attempt to exclude non-operating company IPOs such as trusts, funds and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), companies with the following Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes are excluded:
      • 6091: Financial companies that conduct trust, fiduciary and custody activities.
      • 6371: Asset management companies such as health and welfare funds, pension funds and their third-party administration as well as other financial vehicles.
      • 6722: Companies that are open-end investment funds.
      • 6726: Companies that are other financial vehicles.
      • 6732: Companies that are grant-making foundations.
      • 6733: Asset management companies that deal with trusts, estates and agency accounts.
      • 6799: Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).
  • Definitions for IPO performance by geography

    • Africa includes Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
    • Americas includes Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and the United States.
    • Asean includes Brunei, Cambodia, Guam, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, North Mariana Islands, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
    • Asia-Pacific includes Asean (listed above), Greater China (as stated below), Japan, South Korea as well as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
    • EMEIA includes Armenia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom plus the Middle East countries (listed below) and Africa countries (listed above)
    • Greater China includes Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
    • Middle East includes Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
  • Definitions for IPO deals — top stock exchanges

    We have used data from the main market and the junior market if applicable. The labels on the horizontal axis are the stock exchange tickers (see below for their full names):


    • ASX: Australian Securities Exchange
    • HKEx: Hong Kong Stock Exchange Main Board and its junior market, Growth Enterprise Markets (GEM)
    • SSE: Shanghai Stock Exchange and Science and Technology Innovation Board (STAR)
    • SZSE: Shenzhen Stock Exchange and junior market ChiNext
    • TSE: Tokyo Stock Exchange Main Market and junior markets, MOTHERS and JASDAQ

    Europe, Middle East, India and Africa

    • Euronext: Euronext (Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris) and junior market Alternext (Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris) 
    • FSE: Deutsche Börse Main Market and junior market, Scale
    • Indian: India’s National Stock Exchange and junior market, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) board and Bombay Stock Exchange and junior market SME board
    • LSE: London Main Market and junior market, Alternative Investment Market (AIM)
    • NASDAQ Nordics: NASDAQ OMX Nordics Main Market and junior market, First North, based in Copenhagen, Helsinki, Stockholm and Riga
    • OB: Oslo Bors and junior market, Oslo Axess


    • NASDAQ: US’s National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations exchange
    • NYSE: US’s New York Stock Exchange
    • B3: Sao Paulo Stock Exchange
  • Definitions for IPO deals by sector and IPO proceeds by sector

    Sectors are classified according to Thomson general industries using a company’s Sector Industry Classification (SIC) code. There are 11 sectors, which are defined below with their specific industries. The 11 sectors are shown on the horizontal axis.

    • Consumer: the combination of “Consumer staples” and “Consumer products and services” sectors. Its specific industries include: agriculture and livestock, food and beverage, household and personal products, textiles and apparel, tobacco, educational services, employment services, home furnishings, legal services, other consumer products, professional services, as well as travel services. 
    • Energy: includes the following specific industries: alternative energy sources, oil and gas, other energy and power, petrochemicals, pipelines, power, as well as water and waste management.
    • Financials: includes the following specific industries: asset management, banks, brokerage, credit institutions, diversified financials, government sponsored enterprises, insurance, as well as other financials.
    • Health care: includes the following specific industries: biotechnology, health care equipment and supplies, health care providers and services (HMOs), hospitals, as well as pharmaceuticals.
    • Industrials: includes the following specific industries: aerospace and defense, automobiles and components, building/construction and engineering, machinery, other industrials, transportation, as well as infrastructure.
    • Materials: includes the following specific industries: chemicals, construction materials, containers and packaging, metals and mining, other materials, as well as paper and forest products.
    • Media and Entertainment: includes the following specific industries: advertising and marketing, broadcasting, cable, casino and gaming, hotels and lodging, motion pictures or audio visual, other media and entertainment, publishing, as well as recreation and leisure.
    • Real estate: includes the following specific industries: non-residential, other real estate, real estate management and development, as well as residential.
    • Retail: includes the following specific industries: apparel retailing, automotive retailing, computers and electronics retailing, discount and department store retailing, food and beverage retailing, home improvement retailing, internet and catalog retailing, as well as other retailing.
    • Technology: includes the following specific industries: computers and peripherals, electronics, internet software and services, IT consulting and services, other high technology, semiconductors, as well as software.
    • Telecommunications: includes the following specific industries: other telecom, space and satellites, telecommunications equipment, telecommunications services, as well as wireless.

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In Q1 2021, IPO deal numbers and proceeds posted the best performance in the first quarter for 20 years. Liquidity has fuelled the markets. IPO candidates should consider accessing the markets while the window of opportunity is open.

About this article

By Paul Go

Asia-Pacific EY Private Assurance Leader

Leads Chinese and multinational companies in client servicing domain. Heads Hong Kong real estate, hospitality and construction sector audit group.