Let us begin with the current state. The consumer credit industry is flourishing, with a variety of players such as banks, niche banks, and sales financing companies ("buy now pay later") growing, this applies to both the absolute number of loans given and
the average size of these loans.
In a report from the Swedish FSA, unsecured consumer credit is the fastest-growing credit product in the market. It is natural an increase in demand equals an increase in competition; the current market is no different. The rise in financial competition in
general, in combination with the Covid-19 situation, means that many private individuals will experience a negative impact on their personal finances, impacting the neccessity for credit.
An interesting perspective on the credit and loan industry is that major banks are no longer the biggest lenders. Niche banks and sales financing companies are issue the majority of credit agreements, with traditional banks representing just over a third of
the total volume.
Why the current state is temporary, and why a new reality is pending.
Major banks are losing market share within the consumer lending area, but consumer credit, in general, will most likely peak shortly.
How do I know this?
The most common use-cases for consumer credit, relates to the consumption of durable goods, such as vehicles and electronics. The industry of durable goods are on the verge of moving to subscription-based business models as evidenced by Electrolux's new
business model for electronics or Volvo's statement that 50% of their cars will be sold on a subscription model by 2025. Even companies like Coca-Cola, Adidas, and Nike are turning their retail products to subscriptions. There is a good chance with the disruption
on Covid-19 people who would have ticked the traditional credit score may be a different proposition in the near term.
A major retail bank ING also published a report on the topic, highlighting how customers are taking the "subscribe to music"-behaviour into new industries. Even companies like Apple with the iPhone upgrade program are achieving excellent traction, and this
is nothing but a pure hardware subscription model.
To add some external flavour to my view-point, I borrowed a quote from Forbes. "The subscription e-commerce market has grown by more than 100% a year over the past five years, resulting in subscription businesses growing their revenues about five times faster
than S&P company revenues."
Subscriptions will inevitably replace consumer credit, as consumers shift their buying behaviour towards cars, electronics, and clothing (amongst other categories) to the subscription rails. Meaning the demand for traditional credit will decrease, we have already
seen early adopters in this global shift.
The million-dollar-question is when will the early and late majority adapt, and stop buying on credit?
How will your business adapt to this new environment?