"Coronavirus concerns started to take hold in earnest during February and the pandemic was the key driver of investment into these products for the remainder of the quarter, fuelling inflows across all regions," the WGC said in its quarterly gold demand trends report.
European-listed funds saw the highest levels of investment, with holdings in the region up by 150.1t or US$8 billion. North America-listed funds were close behind, with inflows of 128.5t, or around US$7 billion.
The trend looks sent to continue in the short term, with the WGC noting the first few weeks of April "have seen strong inflows continuing into gold-backed ETFs, taking holdings to fresh record highs".
After its initial March pullback, the WGC said the gold price had been helped by a combination of interest rate cuts, quantitative easing and fiscal support.
While demand for ETFs has skyrocketed, consumer demand for gold has fallen off a cliff, with China - the world's largest jewellery consumer - recording a 65% drop in demand in Q1.