Pandemic Triggers BNPL Surge With 1M New Afterpay Users

Since launching in the U.S. two years ago, the Australia-based buy now, pay later (BNPL) startup Afterpay has attracted more than nine million people, with over five million currently active and one million new users joining during the 10-week pandemic lockdown.

“At a time in which eCommerce has become the primary way people are shopping, there is a growing interest and demand among consumers to pay for things they want and need over time using their own money instead of turning to expensive loans with interest, fees or revolving debt,” Nick Molnar, co-founder and U.S. CEO of Afterpay, said in a statement on Wednesday (May 20). 

The number of users is 30 to 40 percent higher just from January and February. In April, the BNPL platform attracted over 15 million app and site visits, and its retail partners got nearly 10 million lead referrals from visitors to Afterpay’s Shop Directory. These numbers put Afterpay among the fastest-growing eCommerce payment companies on the market, the company said. 

There are currently more than 15,000 brands and merchants that either offer Afterpay or are in the process of joining. Those brands include American Eagle, Birkenstock, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Perricone MD and more. The BNPL unicorn has helped merchants process $2.4 billion in transactions year to date through Q3 FY20, a 354 percent increase compared to the same period in FY19.

“We feel so grateful to partner with the merchant community to support their shoppers and help them attract more customers, as commerce and retail starts to rebound over the next several months,” Molnar said. 

Molnar and Anthony Eisen founded Afterpay in 2014. Aside from Australia and the U.S., Afterpay is also in the U.K. and New Zealand.

Tencent acquired a 5 percent stake in Afterpay earlier this month, investing AUD $390 million. The firm went public in 2016, just nine months after launching. PYMNTS‘ April-May 2020 edition of the Buy Now, Pay Later Tracker, done in coordination with Afterpay, shows that the sector has plenty of room for growth.