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North America Buy Now Pay Later Industry and Trends 2021


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Countries Covered: Canada, USA

Pages: 67

Publication Date: 15/04/2021

Questions Covered in the report:

  • What was the BNPL user penetration rate in the US and the share of users who missed a payment in December 2020?
  • What was the share of Canadians who wished a BNPL option to be offered at checkout in 2020?
  • Which BNPL lenders were preferred by US consumers in 2020 during COVID-19?
  • How did the pandemic change attitude of consumers in the US towards BNPL services in September 2020 compared to March 2020?
  • How can retailers benefit from offering BNPL services in 2021?

Key Findings:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers and merchants created additional demand for BNPL services: new yStats.com report.

Consumers worldwide are increasingly opting for BNPL services, but this sometimes comes at high costs

According to figures cited in the new yStats.com report, the majority of BNPL users worldwide are of the younger generations. For instance, in a March 2021 survey, in the USA, close to two-thirds of respondents in the age group 18-44 at least once opted to use a BNPL service. In Canada, the majority of respondents in the October 2020 survey were willing the BNPL option to be offered at checkouts. Nevertheless, the BNPL services do have some clear downsides for the consumers, as alone in the USA, a significant share of BNPL users have already missed at least one payment, while approximately two-thirds of users had their credit card at more than 75% of the maximum limit at the moment of the first BNPL transaction

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, various authorities became concerned about the accelerated activity of BNPL service providers

Consumers worldwide became increasingly attracted by the BNPL services because of the economic disruptions of the COVID-19 health crisis. The increased use of BNPL raised concerns of several governmental representatives, as the regulatory frameworks are still quite unclear for the industry. This happened, for example, in Europe, as the European Commission stated plans to update the current consumer credit agreements, considering the BNPL service providers activity; in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority intends to introduce initiatives concerning the industry this year; and in Australia, where at the behest of Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the Reserve Bank of the country proposed new regulations. The regulators are mainly concerned about overspending by local consumers and the lack of transparency of the exact terms that BNPL providers apply. Regarding the USA, it is still unclear how the government is going to regulate BNPL services, however, there is already some expectations about the future developments, as detailed in the yStats.com publication.

Despite major BNPL service providers accelerating their market shares, local ones are still stepping in

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Klarna, one of the main BNPL service providers saw its customer base grow rapidly, as more than 20% of its users connected in 2020. Despite steadily growing revenues, the company initiated new services and further market expansion, which resulted in negative net profits. Another serious BNPL player, Afterpay, more than doubled its sales, total income, active customer base, and significantly increased the number of connected merchants during the health crisis. Similarly, Affirm, which mainly operates in North America, in January 2021 officially acquired Toronto-based buy now pay later service provider PayBright, in November 2020 stated its partnership with Adyen, and managed to almost double the number of active users in 2020, compared to 2019. Additionally, the company presented its ambitious plan to nearly double its revenue by the end of the 2021 financial year, according to the yStats.com report.

1. Management Summary

2. Global Overview

  • BNPL Regulations Overview, April 2021
  • BNPL Trends and Benefits for Merchants, April 2021
  • Breakdown of Payment Methods When Booking a Service Related to Travel, incl. BNPL, in % of Adult Travelers, 2020

3. United States of America

  • BNPL User Penetration Rate, in %, and Share of BNPL Users Who Missed at Least One Payment, in %, December 2020
  • BNPL User Penetration Rate, in % of Respondents, and Change in Use of BNPL Compared to March 2020, in %, by Age Groups, September 2020
  • BNPL Service User Penetration Rates, by Age Groups, in % of Consumers, July 2020 & March 2021
  • Breakdown of BNPL Usage, by Credit Utilization Rate at First BNPL Transaction, in %, July 2020
  • Share of Consumers Who Would Prefer an Interest-Free Installment Payment Option over a Lump-Sum Payment with 10% off, in % of Shoppers, September 2020
  • Breakdown of Most Common BNPL Lenders Used, incl. Afterpay, Affirm, Bread, GreenSky, Klarna, and QuadPay, in % of BNPL Users, May 2020
  • Breakdown of Most Common BNPL Lenders Used, incl. Affirm, Afterpay, FuturePay, Klarna, and PayPal, in % of Adult BNPL Users, March 2021
  • Number of BNPL Users, by Service Provider, incl. Affirm, Afterpay, Bread, FuturePay, Klarna, PayPal, QuadPay, Sezzle, and Splitit, in millions, November 2021
  • BNPL Service Providers Overview, incl. Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna, and QuadPay, by Repayment Terms, Interest Rates & Fees, and Credit Score Effect, October 2020
  • Overview of Zip Co’s and QuadPay’s Partnership, and Financial and Operating Performance Metrics after the Acquisition, December 2020
  • Breakdown of BNPL Users’ Attitude Towards BNPL Lenders Compared to Credit Card Companies, in % of Adult BNPL Users, March 2021
  • Breakdown of BNPL Frequency Usage, in % of Adult BNPL Users, July 2020 & March 2020
  • Average Amount Spent via BNPL, in % of Adult BNPL Users, March 2021
  • Breakdown of Most Common BNPL Use Cases, by Product Category, in % of BNPL Users, May 2020
  • Breakdown of Reasons to Use BNPL, in % of Online Consumers, September 2020
  • Breakdown of Online Consumers Who Would Be “Very” or “Extremely” Interested in BNPL, by Age Group, in % of Non-BNPL Users, March 2020 & September 2020
  • Breakdown of Reasons to Use BNPL, in % of Consumers, July 2020
  • Breakdown of Intentions to Use BNPL Services in the next 12 Months, in % of Adults, July 2020 & March 2021
  • Share Consumers Who Would be “Very” or “Extremely” Interested in Using Digital Wallets that Offered Select Plans, by Age Groups, in %, September 2020
  • Breakdown of Shopper Purchase Behavior Change With a Pay-over-Time Option Available, in % of Shoppers, September 2020

4. Canada

  • Overview of BNPL Service Providers, incl. Flexiti and PayBright, April 2021
  • Breakdown of Respondents Who Wish BNPL Option to be Offered, by Checkout Channel, and by Age Groups, in %, January 2021

5. Major BNPL Service Provider: Klarna

  • Klarna’s Activity Overview, April 2021
  • Top 10 CNBC Disruptor Companies, incl. Klarna, June 2020
  • Klarna’s Total Net Operating Income, and Net Profit, in SEK thousands, 2016 – 2020
  • Overall Number of Klarna’s Users, and Klarna’s Monthly Active App Users, in millions, 2019 & 2020
  • Terms of Use of Klarna’s Services, incl. Pay in 4, Pay in 30, Pay Now, and Financing, March 2021
  • Share of Klarna’s User Who Ever Missed a BNPL Payment, in %, October 2020

6. Major BNPL Service Provider: Afterpay

  • Afterpay’s Activity Overview, April 2021
  • Overview of Afterpay’s, PayPal’s and CommBank’s BNPL Service, incl. credit check, individual purchase price, max credit limit, Use Cases, Payment Plan, and Late Fees, March 2021
  • Afterpay’s Underlying Sales, Net Transaction Margin, Gross Losses, Total Income, Active Customers, Merchants, FY 2016 – FY 2020, and Year-on-Year Change, in %, FY 2020
  • Share of Transactions via Afterpay that are Paid Back on Time, in %, February 2021
  • Afterpay’s Share of Late Fees, in % of Afterpay’s Total Income, February 2021

7. Major BNPL Service Provider: Affirm

  • Affirm’s Activity Overview, April 2021
  • Overview of Affirms’s Key Financial Metrics, incl. GMV, Total Revenue, Transaction Costs, and Adjusted Operating Loss, Q4 2019, Q4 2020, H2 2019, H2 2020
  • Overview of Affirms’s Key Financial Metrics, incl. GMV, Total Revenue, Transaction Costs, Adjusted Operating Loss, and Weighted Average Shares Outstanding, Fiscal Q3 2021e, and Fiscal 2021f
  • Affirms’s Active Users, in millions, December 2019, June 2020, and December 2020

8. Payment Facilitators Offering BNPL Services

  • Various Facilitators’ BNPL Activity Overview, incl. Stripe, Mastercard, and Shopify, March 2021
  • Share of PayPal Credit’s User Who Ever Missed a BNPL Payment, in %, October 2020
  • Adyen
  • Affirm
  • Afterpay
  • Amazon
  • American Eagle
  • Apple Pay
  • Ardene
  • Clearbanc
  • Divido
  • Flexiti
  • Fundera
  • FuturePay
  • GOLI
  • Google Pay
  • Greensky
  • Huda Beauty
  • Klarna
  • MasterCard
  • Native Shoes
  • PayBright
  • PayPal
  • PayPlan
  • Perfume.com
  • QuadPay
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Sezzle
  • Shopify
  • Splitit
  • Squarespace
  • Stripe
  • Visa

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