Friday, 16 Apr 2021

Buy now pay later to outstrip card payments by 2024, expert forecasts

The use of buy now pay later payment grew 10 per cent in New Zealand last year and its use could outstrip card payments for e-commerce by 2024, a global payments expert has forecast.

Phil Pomford, general manager for global eCommerce, APAC, at FIS, said the global payments landscape was changing dramatically and Covid-19 had accelerated many trends that were already kicking off.

He said e-commerce grew at the fastest rate in the last five years in 2020.

“With shops being closed in different places and at different times e-commerce has really become a place for consumers to go to to get some of basic items, but also broader consumer items.”

It had forecast 19 per cent growth in e-commerce in 2020 but now it expected that figure to be slightly higher.

“Obviously, we didn’t predict what was coming down the pipe in terms of a global pandemic but it certainly shows what Covid has done is really pushed things along.”

And he said it was not going away any time soon with it forecasting annual growth of 12 per cent from here on in to 2024.

Pomford said in New Zealand buy now pay later – where consumers spread their payments over a number of weeks but get the item upfront – had got a stranglehold and it was going to continue to grow.

“We expect it to grow and potentially overtake cards by 2024.”

The explosion of buy now pay later was projected to see e-commerce credit card transactions fall from 37.6 per cent in 2019 to 22.8 per cent in 2024.

E-commerce as a whole was projected to grow from $5 billion to $7 billion in 2024 – an increase of 40 per cent while sales via mobile phones were projected to grow to 61 per cent of all e-commerce transactions by 2024, up from 47 per cent.

“One of the big trends is around growing mobile spend – expect mobile to be almost 50 per cent of spend.”

Pomford said for retailers that mean they needed to ensure consumers had a seamless experience by having mobile-optimised web pages and an easy online check-out process.

“Consumers today are looking for frictionless, they are looking for speed, looking for simple ways of using biometrics to check out. Merchants who can help consumers make very simple transitions … will do extremely well and that really does link to omni-channel commerce.”

He said consumers wanted to be able to buy it online and return it in store.

“Things like that I think merchants in New Zealand really do need to think about that as they look forward.”

When it comes to in-store payment trends credit cards remain the most popular accounting for almost 37 per cent of transactions in 2020.

But digital wallets, the likes of Applepay and Androidpay, were the fastest-growing payments method with predictions that it will grow 25 per cent a year for the next four years.

The one thing that isn’t changing much in New Zealand is cash. It makes up just under 13per cent of point-of-sale transactions and is expected to fall only 0.7 per cent in the next five years.

That contrasts to Australia where cash payments made up around 8.3 per cent last year and are forecast to fall to 2 per cent by 2024 making Australia a virtually cashless society.

“The move towards cashless is slower in New Zealand. I think New Zealand has bucked the trend around cashless and we expect the levels of cash to remain similar between now and 2024 based on our predictions.

“I think New Zealand’s very early and rapid response to Covid – targeted lockdowns like what we are seeing at the moment – has meant shops have been closed less than other places so I think that is why cash has continued to remain higher than the average.”

Pomford said globally cash use had dropped10 per cent in the last year which was quite significant.

“Cash has been seen as unhygienic and there were early reports around cash being a transmitter.”

But he warned that the drop in cash use could have consequences for financial inclusion and groups like charities and those who were paid in tips.

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