Thematic ETFs are booming because of the 'societal sea change,' with 90% of funds beating the market

Attendees inspect LG Electronics Inc. CLOi robots during a press preview day at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. 
Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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The so-called thematic exchange-traded funds, one of the quirkiest corners of the ETF industry, have now gone mainstream with massive inflows and market-trouncing returns, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

From cloud computing to advanced medicine and e-commerce, thematic ETFs focus on various niche segments of an industry. Coincidentally, this year's unprecedented move to digital and ongoing stay-at-home trend accelerated many social and industrial transformations that a lot of those funds bet on. Here's how to ride this Wall Street boom.