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BNPL trends: Live Now, Pay Later

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is an emerging trend that has rapidly gained traction. It allows consumers to purchase goods and services immediately while deferring the payment over a series of instalments, often without interest or fees if payments are made on time. 

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The growth trajectory of BNPL services is remarkable, with Juniper Research, projecting an increase from 380 million users in 2024 to over 670 million globally by 2028. This substantial growth of 107% will be driven by the anticipated economic downturn, which will increase the demand for low-cost credits instead of traditional banking solutions.

Demographically, BNPL services are particularly popular among younger consumers worldwide. According to statistics from LexisNexis Risk Solutions, consumers aged 35 and under make up 53% of BNPL users, compared to just 35% of traditional credit card holders. Millennials have begun using BNPL at a higher rate than other generations, with nearly 45 million millennials expected to use proximity mobile payments in 2024, more than any other generation. 

This trend is driven by several factors: many young consumers are still building their financial independence and may have limited access to traditional credit. BNPL offers a flexible alternative to credit cards, often without requiring a strong credit history. Additionally, younger consumers prefer to avoid traditional debt and the high-interest rates associated with credit cards. They are also more comfortable with digital technology and value instant access to experiences. This underscores a significant shift in spending patterns, with younger demographics increasingly opting for BNPL to manage cash flow and finance everyday purchases.

The Evolution of BNPL into Live Now, Pay Later

The Buy Now, Pay Later model, once a niche financial product, has undergone a major transformation, expanding into what is now termed Live Now, Pay Later (LNPL). This evolution mirrors a change in consumer preferences, especially  among younger generations who favour experiences over material possessions. As younger consumers increasingly value flexibility and immediate access, LNPL has become a preferred financial solution. Live Now, Pay Later takes the core idea of BNPL and applies it to various aspects of life.

1. Send (or Remit) Now, Pay Later 

Companies like Remitly and Western Union are exploring instalment-based remittance services to meet the needs of consumers who require urgent money transfers but cannot afford the upfront cost. These platforms enable users to instantly transfer money to friends, family, or businesses with the option to repay in instalments, thus providing crucial support for those facing immediate financial demands.

The Digital Remittances market is projected to reach USD 150.80 billion in transaction value in 2024, with an annual growth rate of 4.76%, totaling USD 181.60 billion by 2028. The number of users in this market is projected to reach 18.74 million by 2028. This integration of ВNPL into remittance services reflects a broader trend towards flexible financial solutions in everyday transactions.

2. Fly Now, Pay Later

Сompanies like Uplift and Klarna, allow customers to book flights and accommodation immediately and pay in instalments later. According to Deloitte’s report on travel trends, 75% of travellers are more likely to pick a BNPL option to fund their trips. This flexibility enables travellers to select the most convenient method for their needs. 

Interestingly, BNPL also encourages consumers to opt for more premium options, such as luxury accommodation or first-class tickets, enhancing their overall travel experience and driving higher sales for travel companies. This trend is particularly significant among Millennials and Gen Z, who are expected to become the largest travel spenders.

3. Rent Now, Pay Later

Companies such as Flex and Domuso are pioneering rental payment plans that allow tenants to move into properties immediately and pay their rent in instalments, without upfront fees or interest charges. This approach not only enhances affordability but also expands access to housing for individuals who may face financial constraints. 

Given the current economic landscape characterised by rising interest rates, soaring home prices, and increasing demand for rental properties, the rental market is projected to grow to $3,749.95 billion in 2028, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5%. In this context, BNPL services are becoming increasingly popular in the rental sector.

4. Ride Now, Pay Later

Ride-sharing giants such as Lyft and Uber are actively exploring BNPL models to enhance ridership. For instance, in April 2024, Uber partnered with Klarna to introduce instalment payment options. With nearly 9.5 billion trips taken on Uber in 2023, averaging 28 million trips per day in Q4 '23 alone, averaged out to 28 million trips per day - more than one million per hour.

This kind of BNPL integration will notably benefit markets where daily commuting costs pose financial challenges for low-income individuals. This approach not only attracts more riders but also provides them with the flexibility to manage transportation expenses more effectively, contributing to greater mobility and convenience.

5. Learn Now, Pay Later

Companies like EdAid and Skills Fund are leading the way in offering financing for courses and bootcamps with deferred payment plans. The integration of BNPL into the education sector highlights a trend toward flexible financial solutions that cater to the evolving needs of learners.

This approach is particularly beneficial for individuals from underserved, low-income communities, making education more financially feasible and inclusive. With the number of users in the Online Education market expected to reach 1.121 billion by 2029, the effectiveness of educational institutions lies in their ability to facilitate online payment capabilities, allowing students to manage the costs.

6. Party Now, Pay Later

BNPL has also made its way into the entertainment industry with services that allow users to "Party Now, Pay Later". This innovative approach enables consumers to purchase tickets for concerts, festivals, and other events and pay for them over time, thus alleviating the immediate financial burden. By enabling fans to enjoy their favourite events without upfront costs, BNPL services have made entertainment more accessible.

This aligns with the preferences of Millennials and Gen Z, who are increasingly prioritising experiences over material possessions. Three out of four millennials prefer spending on experiences rather than products, seeking unique and immersive activities that create lasting memories. The events industry has tapped into this trend by adopting services like Afterpay and Klarna, which offer flexible payment options to attendees.

7. Play Now, Pay Later 

Platforms like Razer Gold enable gamers to buy virtual goods on credit, making it easier to acquire in-game currency, items, or subscriptions without the immediate financial burden. 

A recent report by Statista shows that the global games market revenue is expected to reach $455 billion in 2024, with in-game purchases accounting for a substantial portion of this revenue. As BNPL services continue to gain momentum, more gamers are likely to utilise these options to enhance their gaming experience, further driving growth in the industry. 

A Future Outlook of BNPL

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) has rapidly become an integral part of everyday life, significantly impacting the traditional banking sector. According to J. D. Power, overall customer satisfaction with BNPL services has risen by 16 points year over year, driven by the reasonableness of terms, ease of use, and the high security of sensitive data. As the industry continues to mature, we can expect new fintech providers to emerge globally, likely resulting in a transition away from traditional credit towards more innovative payment schemes.

BNPL covers a wide range of B2C businesses, and its applications are becoming increasingly tailored to specific needs. From "Party Now, Pay Later" for the entertainment industry, "Learn now, Pay Later" for education, to "Ride Now, Pay Later" for transportation, and "Play Now, Pay Later" for gaming, the possibilities are virtually endless. This trend reflects a significant shift in how consumers manage their finances, seeking flexible and accessible payment options.

The growing prevalence of BNPL has spurred banks and credit card companies to embrace this trend for competitive advantage. Institutions like Citibank, HSBC, and American Express have introduced BNPL products, allowing customers to split payments into interest-free instalments seamlessly integrated within banking apps. Some of them exemplify this approach, enabling customers to manage large purchases conveniently through their mobile banking platform. These initiatives not only enhance consumer choices and terms but also bolster confidence among businesses, mitigating fraud risks associated with non-regulated BNPL providers. Forecasts predict over 10 billion BNPL transactions by 2028, highlighting its establishment as a pivotal tool in modern financial services.

According to the PYMNTS report, BNPL has cemented its place within the financial services ecosystem, offering crucial access to credit for those underserved by traditional methods. As regulatory frameworks evolve, continued growth in consumer confidence and adoption of BNPL is anticipated, solidifying its role as an indispensable component of future financial strategies.

 

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Taras Boyko

Taras Boyko

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