More Than 1 in 4 Young Adults Report Recently Using Buy Now Pay Later to Make a Purchase

August 19, 2021

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Customer-Centric | Demographics & Audiences | Financial Services | Industries | Spending Trends | Youth & Gen X

MorningConsult BNPL Use by Generation Aug2021Since the start of the pandemic, online shopping has increased in popularity, and with that popularity comes a willingness to try new ways to buy, including “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) programs. Awareness and use of these programs have grown in the past year, especially among young US adults, per a recent Morning Consult report.

When looking at BNPL awareness, purchasing consideration and usage between April 2020 and July 2021 across generational groups, awareness of BNPL programs such as Afterpay, Affirm and Klarna grew by 78% among Gen Z, 48% among Millennials, and 61% among Gen X. For Gen X, this awareness resulted in a 163% jump in BNPL purchase consideration, compared to the 102% lift for Gen Z and 73% for Millennials. However, awareness and purchase consideration among Baby Boomers only rose by 13% and 32%, respectively.

While nearly 1 in 5 (17% of) US adults reported using BNPL services in the month prior to the survey, usage of these programs is highest among Gen Z and Millennials, the two age groups put at the most financial risk by the pandemic. Indeed, about one-quarter (27%) of each group report using BNPL services to make a purchase, representing an increase of 87% for Gen Z and 84% for Millennials from the previous year.

Despite the noteworthy jump in BNPL purchase consideration for Gen X consumers, only 14% report using these services, though that’s an increase of 77% over April 2020.

On the other hand, while the use of BNPL programs actually dropped by 21% among Baby Boomers, they are leading the pack on credit card ownership. Some 7 in 10 (69% of) US adults say they or someone in their household owns a credit card. However, 8 in 10 (81% of) Baby Boomers say they have a credit card. In the case of credit cards, Gen Z and Millennials are the laggards, with only 55% and 58% saying they own one, respectively. Meanwhile, Gen X is on par with the adult average, with 69% saying they have a credit card.

Read the full report here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a July 2021 survey of 4,400 US adults.

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