Only 5% of local businesses offer BNPL in store

Consumers are much more likely to use buy now, pay later (BNPL) when shopping online than when shopping in physical stores.

That’s true across four retail segments, including big-box stores, department stores, luxury and specialty stores, and local businesses, according to “BNPL And The In-Store Opportunity,” a PYMNTS and zipper collaboration that surveyed 2,025 US consumers.

Get the report: BNPL and the in-store opportunity

The relatively minimal in-store use of BNPL by consumers comes down to availability.

BNPL was offered for about half of consumers’ most recent online purchases across all retail segments, but available for less than a fifth of in-store purchases.

The most dramatic gap in the availability of BNPL was for consumers making purchases from local businesses. The survey found that 55% of local businesses offered BNPL online, while only 5% offered the method in-store.

The lowest availability gap was seen among consumers shopping at luxury and specialty stores, with BNPL being offered for 52% of their recent online purchases and 28% of their in-store purchases.

Despite the availability gap, consumer interest in installment payments was about the same for online and in-store purchases. Across all four retail segments, the shares of online and in-store shoppers who were highly interested in using installment payment methods such as BNPL were roughly equal.

Installment payment plans such as BNPL seemed particularly attractive to certain demographic groups, namely younger generation consumers. The three youngest generations – Millennials, Millennials, and Gen Z – expressed the most interest in using installment payments across all four retail segments.

Consumers’ financial lifestyle has also impacted their interest in installment payments, with those who live paycheck to paycheck expressing the most interest across all retail categories.

Fewer consumers in the other financial groups in the PYMNTS survey said they were very interested in installment payments, but their shares were large nonetheless.

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Amanda P. Whitten