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Buy Now, Pay Later – Boom or Bust?

New research from The Strawhecker Group analyzes key trends and consumer attitudes.

Consumers have increasingly adopted Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services for multiple reasons; a desire for financial flexibility, a way to avoid incurring credit card debt, or to purchase items outside of their budgets. However, despite its popularity, consumer debt and missed payments have led to calls for additional research and regulation. Read the press release.

To take a closer look, The Strawhecker Group (TSG) conducted a survey of over 1,500 U.S. consumers in early 2021 with the goal of understanding domestic attitudes and perspectives on the use of BNPL services. The complete findings, a selection of BNPL provider profiles, and market landscape details can be found in the firm’s new report Buy Now, Pay Later: An Analysis of Key Trends and Consumer Attitudes.

TSG found that 39 percent of consumers have tried BNPL, and of those, 55 percent tend to spend more ($312 average spend) compared to other payment methods. Results indicated that most consumers intend to continue using BNPL services, and that trust is high when it comes to the reliability of these products; however, consumers are less confident when it comes to the motivations of their providers.

“We found that one in five consumers believe their buy now, pay later service would take advantage of them,” said Jared Drieling, Senior Director of Market Intelligence and Insights at TSG. “Despite the growing trend, most consumers stated a credit or debit card issued through their bank was still the number one most reliable payment method.”

Further, a thematic analysis of respondents who do not use BNPL, as well as their reasons for intentionally avoiding these services, showed that consumers can experience psychological discomfort, a lack of familiarity, and financial hardship preventing them from pursuing Buy Now, Pay Later options.

“The future of Buy Now, Pay Later usage suggests an even more nuanced picture, as the retention rates reported by some companies are astonishingly high. For example, Afterpay reported 91% of sales during the first quarter of 2021 were from repeat customers,” added Drieling.

Highlights of this extensive 81-page report include:

  • Buy Now, Pay Later Background
  • Key Players in the Buy Now, Pay Later Space
  • Buy Now, Pay Later Consumer Survey
  • Concluding Thoughts: The Future of Buy Now, Pay Later

Download a free infographic covering several findings from the full report.

Companies mentioned in this report include: Affirm, Afterpay, Amazon, American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup, Discover, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Klarna, Mastercard, PayPal, Quadpay, Robinhood, Sezzle, SplitIt, Visa, Wells Fargo, and Worldpay from FIS.

This report may be purchased at TSG’s eReports Store. Alternatively, subscribers to TSG’s eReports subscription service have access to this report along with dozens of other deep dives, industry directories, country and company profiles, and educational primers.

For more information please contact us online or call 1-402-964-2617. For media inquiries, please email

About TSG

The Strawhecker Group (TSG) is the largest analytics and consulting firm focused on the payments acceptance industry. TSG serves the entire payments ecosystem and has experience in working on large-scale projects for the world’s biggest payment players. The firm has worked with all card networks, nine of the top ten merchant acquirers in the U.S., as well as leading private equity firms and investment banks. The firm’s 50-person workforce is primarily in Omaha with satellite offices in Sacramento, Denver, and London. For more information please visit