“No one says I love how I paid for that, but people say they love Afterpay,” said Nick Molnar, global chief revenue officer and cofounder of Australian buy-now, pay-later company.
In just over a year in the U.S. market, the company has already partnered with more than 6,500 retailers and helped over 1.5 million shoppers by catering to Millennials who Molnar says do not have credit cards.
Without credit cards, the solution has become Afterpay to buy now and pay later with users, even deferring to the payment method to decide where to shop. In Australia, Afterpay is now the second-largest traffic driver after Google and last month drove four times as much traffic to Steve Madden as Instagram. Molnar also shared that brands report to seeing higher orders when customers use this payment method.
As a Millennial himself, Molnar explained that Afterpay’s success is premised on a deep understanding of Millennials and Gen Zers as consumers, how they differ from each other, and how they differ from generational cohorts that predate them. At the core, Molnar says Millennials are just “deeply misunderstood.”
Though Millennials will have you believe they are each unique, largely through social media, Afterpay has actually found Millennial shopping habits to be very similar and consistent. Looking at direct-to-consumer brands that have emerged and been successful in the last few years, Molnar says that the common theme is being built on trust. “The currency of the world now is trust,” Molnar said. “The only reason why Afterpay exists as an opportunity is because the credit industry profits from misbehavior not good behavior.”
Molnar admitted that Millennials do spend money differently. There is a mentality with this generation, who came into adulthood at an economic low, to not spend money they do not have. Currently, two out of three people age 18 to 30 do not own a credit card. Although this is a generational trend, Afterpay has found it to be even more ingrained in the U.S. than in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. “When you ask a Millennial what the number-one thing they are most scared of they say [they] are more scared of credit card debt than they are of dying,” Molnar said.
This is not all to say that Millennials are not shopping, because they are. Experiencing retail is how the generation works to achieve the level of uniqueness they portray on social media. Afterpay sees 47 percent of Millennials buy a fashion item weekly and 42 percent purchase a beauty item weekly. The Millennial generation will soon hold half of all disposable income in the U.S. and is poised to become the top consumer spending demographic for the next 15 to 20 years.
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