Buy now, pay later – see who wins in this app category.

If you’re like me, you like to shop online. 

It’s so easy. I can swipe an app — or hit a site — and get what I want. Any time of day. Next thing I know, a perfect little purchase ships directly to my doorstep. 

It’s like Christmas, in the best way. 

So, when I heard about buy now, pay later (BNPL) apps, it was like a whole new avenue opened up. Now I could buy stuff online, and split it into four interest free payments.

But I struggled to find the right one. I’d signed up for a few and my wallet regretted it. All of a sudden, I had too many apps … and too much stuff. 😅 

My curiosity sparked. I couldn’t be the only one.

So, here’s what I did. 

I opened Persona Views™. I used the visual platform to see exactly who is using BNPLs. And, after a short while of digging into app behaviors by demos I found that it was …

Not Gen X.

At least not this month.

Here, I’ll show you. 

See that?

Every app is trending down. Now, that doesn’t mean they never use it. But you can clearly see Afterpay, Sezzle, Affirm, Quadpay and Klarna are all down significantly in this age group.

So, while Gen Xers love online shopping – they’re buying merch up front. Now, this could be for a few reasons but the only way to find out is by surveying them. Gen X is more established than other generations. But, everyone has been hit by this pandemic, and I’m sure holding onto cash a little longer could be helpful. Which made me wonder, exactly why isn’t Gen X into BNPL?

Well, the brands could be to blame

See these apps have a history with younger gens. It’s all in the companies they serve. Older gens just aren’t as into Forever 21 and H&M, as a younger crowd is.1

Is this a missed opportunity?

I think so. Gen X loves tech, so these apps can reach a whole new market, if they can make it work. Here, Persona Views™ can be used to plan partnerships, or build stronger ad messaging to this demo. It’s that simple.

With the right strategy, Gen X may be as likely to BNPL as Gen Z. 

So, how does Gen Z feel?

Gen Z is loyal to Afterpay.

That’s surprising.

After all, isn’t Gen Z the non-loyal generation2 … ? Not when it comes to paying for their stuff, apparently. This group has eyes only for AfterPay. At least this month. Given this is a trend, not a long-term behavior, but still — a 54% spike speaks for itself.

Don’t believe me? Take a look.

Now, here’s what’s interesting. 

It piqued my curiosity — so, to see why AfterPay is so great, I compared it to Klarna. And … surprise, surprise, there wasn’t a big difference. Both apps have consumers pay 25% of their purchase every 2 weeks and have 0% interest.

But, there is this

Klarna has more options. You can finance for 6-36 months and the late fee is only $7. Meanwhile, Afterpay has a late fee of $10 and an additional fee of $7 if the payment is unpaid 7 days after the due date. And, no unique financing options.3


Shouldn’t Gen Z prefer Klarna to Afterpay?

Find out. You can survey this same group. See if Afterpay is positioning themselves as a better brand. Then, hear why Gen Z loves this app over the other BNPL apps.

That’s why you use a first-party consumer panel. You can validate their data first, build a base from which to ask questions, and then get the answers in a survey.

See how it works.

Get a free 7 day trial of Persona Views™. You’ll keep all the data. Use your login to analyze trending behaviors and find the “why” behind the data.



By Allyson Wehn

Reviewed by Cathy Karcher

Posted on October 16th, 2021

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