The Future of Luxury Brands Lives At Checkout
Luxury brands are leveraging Afterpay’s BNPL solution to tap into the next generation of consumers
By teaming up with Afterpay, New York Fashion Week (NYFW) has taken strides to become a more inclusive and accessible place for a broader group of consumers through curated public events and digital activations. Besides opening these closed doors to consumers, Afterpay has also elevated many luxury small businesses at NYFW – attracting more mainstream consumer attention to these brands and ultimately helping convert them into shoppers.
While legacy brands tend to headline the activity during NYFW, it’s important to acknowledge that the majority of luxury brands are small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to become the next must-have designer amongst Millennials and Gen Zs. This next generation of consumers are becoming a powerful force in the economy – currently accounting for 32% of retail spend and expected to rise to 48% by 2030 as their spending power grows.
Luxury brands recognize that Millennials and Gen Zs are averse to credit, which has fueled the growth of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL). Specifically, Afterpay has seen an increased interest from high-end small businesses to have a BNPL offering to accommodate the demands of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers. Since the start of 2021, the number of designer merchants featured on the Afterpay Shopping App has increased by 97%, with sales for luxury items purchased through Afterpay up 157%. This significant uptick in luxury designers offering Afterpay’s pay-in-four solution has helped designers ensure they reach a high-intent audience of younger consumers who want a more flexible and affordable way to shop for luxury goods.
As a two-sided network, Afterpay is both a payment solution and marketing vehicle – actively supporting the growth and development of partners and presenting opportunities such as NYFW to help them realize their business goals. Some of these past initiatives include: a Small Business Showcase for consumers to discover new brands and launching ‘See Now, Buy Now’ collections with size-inclusive luxury retailer 11 Honoré, and African-American designers Sergio Hudson and LaQuan Smith. This September, Afterpay has recently announced its latest partnership with Asian-American womenswear designer Kim Shui to push the boundaries even more this season, with the first NYFW phygital activation.
The Shop Small movement is not waning and is only fueled by BNPL, as spending for small businesses is up 300% for Gen Z and 200% for Millennials since 2020, according to Afterpay’s Next Gen Index. While it’s easy to forget premium brands are part of the SMB network, Afterpay remains committed to supporting luxury SMBs in as many ways as possible, with the aim of rewriting the narrative that ‘high-fashion’ can be accessible to all.