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Soaring prices force gift-buying on credit

The number of online payment apps offering various types of “buy now, pay later” solutions for Americans has seen a steady rise, according to data published on Thanksgiving Day weekend.

Americans are increasingly feeling the impact of inflation and rising prices, and this is also reflected in their shopping habits. Now, an analysis of Thanksgiving Day data shows that more and more people are buying on credit, or using so-called BNPL payment solutions.

BNPL stands for “buy now, pay later”, and such platforms provide customers with just that option. Customers can have the goods immediately, and defer payments until later, or even in installments, at a very low – often zero per cent – interest. In other words, the BNPL companies provide a kind of financing service, similar to the in-store credit that can be applied for in department stores.

In the US, Affirm, Afterpay and Klarna are the most popular apps. Now, the latest data shows that purchasing through them increased by 1.3 per cent around Thanksgiving. In other words, the number of Americans who could, or did not want to settle their bills immediately upon buying.

Interestingly, however, Salesforce data found that the average value of purchases made through these applications decreased by 6 per cent, which indicates that

shoppers need more help to buy cheaper things than in previous years.

In addition, retailers are increasing their discounts as Americans can afford less and less. Black Friday, with almost every store offering huge discounts, is traditionally held on the first Thursday after Thanksgiving.

Judging from the data, this year’s webshop markdowns have reached an average of 31 per cent, which is 7 per cent higher than last year. Incidentally, the biggest discounts were offered in the categories of household appliances, casual clothing, make-up and luxury bags.

Initially, BNPL apps were launched to help in the financing of items that come with bigger price tags. However, they’ve also started gaining ground in people’s everyday purchases and lower-priced gifts, because the way consumers think about the economy and their personal finances has also changed, Retail VP Rob Garf at Salesforce told the New York Post.

Salesforce also points to another interesting information, namely that consumer spending increased by 9 per cent to $7.5 billion on Thanksgiving, compared to the year before.

However, most of the growth is driven by higher prices rather than people buying more goods.

In fact, they are buying fewer products than before, but are spending far more.


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