retail news in context, analysis with attitude

LendingTree is out with a new study saying that "nearly 70% of buy now, pay later users admit to spending more than they would if they had to pay for everything upfront."

Here are some other key findings from the study:

•  "43% of Americans have used a buy now, pay later (BNPL) service, an increase from 31% a year ago. These services are gaining traction among baby boomers: 22% of those ages 57 to 76 have used BNPL, up from 9% this time last year."

•  "42% of BNPL users say they’ve made a late payment on one of these loans. That’s likely one reason 23% of BNPL customers have regretted financing a purchase this way."

•  "Consumers still prefer credit cards, but BNPL is gaining share. 47% of consumers would prefer to use BNPL to pay for a purchase they don’t have money in the bank to cover. BNPL is preferred to plastic among women (51%) and those making less than $50,000 a year (53%)."

•  "The fact that 42% of BNPL users said they’d made a late payment was the most troubling and most shocking finding. That figure is even more disturbing when you consider that BNPL loans are growing more popular by the day, and that nearly half of consumers would prefer them to credit cards. "

KC's View:

Sure, LendingTree has a dog in this hunt.  But that doesn't mean the conclusions are inaccurate or any less alarming - that there may be a growing population of cash-stressed customers out there looking for solutions.  That's fertile ground for savvy retailers to work, though it will be important to talk about value, not just price.