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September 16, 2021Blog Posts

Amazon Is Doing It. So Is Walmart. Why Retail Loves ‘Buy Now, Pay Later.’

The Wall Street Journal

By AnnaMaria Andriotis

Alexis Luedtke got her first “buy now, pay later” plan in 2019 after she was rejected for a credit card. She has used at least five more since to buy face cream, T-shirts and birthday gifts.

Installment plans are back in style. PayPal Holdings Inc. last week said it was buying Japanese installment payment startup Paidy Inc., following Square Inc.’s $29 billion deal for Afterpay Ltd. Macy’s Inc. and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. have added the option at checkout over the past year. Even Amazon.com Inc. is doing it.

One reason: shoppers like Ms. Luedtke who don’t qualify for credit cards. Buy-now-pay-later companies say they rely less on—and in some cases bypass altogether—traditional credit scores and reports. Doing so allows them to approve more consumers. Shoppers gain the ability to buy things even without cash on hand—translating to higher sales for retailers.

Afterpay said it expects the company’s U.S. merchants will see an $8.2 billion increase in sales this year because of payment plans. Affirm Holdings Inc. AFRM +3.69% last year said purchases made with its payment plans were 85% larger, on average.

Shoppers spend more at Macy’s when they use installment plans offered through Klarna Bank AB, Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said on a recent earnings call. Klarna also is helping the retailer attract younger customers, he said.

“The value that most retailers see in buy now, pay later is customer acquisition,” said David Sykes, Klarna’s North America head.

Source

New research from The Strawhecker Group analyzes key trends and consumer attitudes.

Download a free infographic covering several findings from the full report.

Consumers have increasingly adopted Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services for multiple reasons; a desire for financial flexibility, a way to avoid incurring credit card debt, or to purchase items outside of their budgets. However, despite its popularity, consumer debt and missed payments have led to calls for additional research and regulation. Read the press release.

To take a closer look, The Strawhecker Group (TSG) conducted a survey of over 1,500 U.S. consumers in early 2021 with the goal of understanding domestic attitudes and perspectives on the use of BNPL services. The complete findings, a selection of BNPL provider profiles, and market landscape details can be found in the firm’s new report Buy Now, Pay Later: An Analysis of Key Trends and Consumer Attitudes.

Highlights of this extensive 81-page report include:

  • Buy Now, Pay Later Background
  • Key Players in the Buy Now, Pay Later Space
  • Buy Now, Pay Later Consumer Survey
  • Concluding Thoughts: The Future of Buy Now, Pay Later
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