The top reasons shoppers use buy now, pay later are…

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Consumers use BNPL for a variety of reasons.

A new survey reveals how, why and when consumers make purchases using a buy now, pay later (BNPL) service.

According to the November 2022 survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers who have made a BNPL payment at least once from Forbes Advisor and OnePoll, the number one reason respondents use BNPL is to reduce the impact of a big purchase (66%), followed by buying something they can’t afford right now.

Other leading reasons for using BNPL include staying within a monthly budget (45%), buying more things at once (39%), and justifying a spontaneous or indulgent purchase (24%). Two reasons related to credit cards made the list: getting around a credit card limit (19%) and inability to obtain credit card approval (13%).

BNPL solutions enable consumers to spread the cost of their purchases without interest charges; making them an alternative to credit cards. Additionally, BNPL services do not require hard credit checks, and an increasing number of retailers are accepting BNPL as a payment method.

The survey also revealed the most popular BNPL purchase categories:

  • Clothing 58%.
  • Electronics 51%.
  • Shoes 38%.
  • Home goods 34%.
  • Furniture 32%.
  • Jewelry 26%.
  • Food and drinks 25%.
  • Toys and games 25%.
  • Exercise/sporting equipment 17%.

Other notable findings include:

  • 64% of respondents said they’ll use BNPL to buy gifts this holiday season.
  • 70% of respondents said they would use BNPL to spend more than they had planned.
  • 40% of respondents would use BNPL for a purchase under $100, with 20% willing to use it for a purchase under 50.
  • 70% of respondents would consider BNPL for everyday purchases, not just special purchases.
  • 57% of respondents said knowing that BNPL exists makes them feel more comfortable about dealing with a surprise bill, such as replacement of a major appliance.
  • 43% of respondents don’t consider themselves in debt when they owe money on a purchase, even though BNPL is a form of debt. This jumps to 51% among Gen Z respondents.
  • 57% of respondents say they’ve made late payments on a BNPL purchase.

Buy now, pay later poised for substantial global growth

According to a recent study from Juniper Research, “Buy Now Pay Later: Regulatory Frameworks, Competitor Leaderboard & Market Forecasts 2022-2027,” the number of BNPL users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027. This will mark an increase of more than 540 million users from 360 million users in 2022.

Juniper Research data indicates this 157% growth rate will be driven by an anticipated economic downturn, which will increase the demand for low-cost credit solutions.