The Return of IRL Shopping: Holiday Shoppers Went Back to Stores with Orders up 384%

January 06, 2022USA

Consumers turned to Afterpay to shop for their home, pets, fitness gear, gift cards and at department stores this holiday season

SAN FRANCISCO, January 6, 2022 – Afterpay (ASX:APT), the leader in “Buy Now, Pay Later” payments, today released its holiday consumer shopping trends for the 2021 season. The company’s sales data showed in-store shopping growth of 384% year-on-year, with Black Friday resulting in a 442% increase for in-store shopping on that day alone. This strong growth reflects young shoppers’ growing preference to spend responsibly and pay over time to kickstart the new year. 

With 100,000 global merchant partners, more consumers used Afterpay to conquer their holiday shopping list – using their own money to pay over time. This led to a 41% increase in shopping referral traffic to merchants during the holiday shopping period. Customers have also shifted to a mobile-first mindset, with 92% of Afterpay referrals generated from the app.¹ 

Additional US shopping trends this season included:¹

  • Partywear made a festive comeback. In preparation for another possible lockdown, velvet and sequin clothes were party-goers’ wardrobes of choice – increasing by 188% and 146% year-over-year, respectively.  
  • Twas the season for furry friends. Pet parents actively looked to Afterpay in search of supplies and products to spoil their furry companions with quarterly sales up 376%. 
  • The return of the department store. Consumers doubled down on department store shopping through the holiday season – up 256% year-on-year. 
  • Overcoming supply chain woes with a gift card. To avoid shipping delays on physical items, spending on gift cards multiplied by 50x year-on-year. 
  • Round two for home makeovers. Lockdown fatigue has not slowed down interest in home goods as purchases grew 49% year-over-year. 
  • A spotlight on diverse businesses. Over half a million customers supported Black and female-owned businesses. 
  • Shredding cabin fever with snow gear. Demand for skiwear experienced a huge surge due to the popularity of snow sports as social distancing measures eased. It resulted in 10x more customers spending at ski and snow merchants. 
  • Gender fluid clothing for everyBODY. Genderless products have made fashion more accessible for all body types, with sales for items described as ‘unisex’ within merchants’ gender-inclusive category up 57% year-on-year. 

Shakaila Forbes-Bell, Afterpay’s consumer shopping psychologist said, “If 2020 was defined as the year of digital commerce, then 2021 could be considered in-person retail’s homecoming. Not only has this pivot occurred due to our increased desire for socialization, but new research suggests that physically interacting with products in-store provides us with a more “complete cognitive experience”. With this newfound appetite to go back into stores, consumers showcased braver shopping decisions and emulated their fashion senses across all their lifestyle choices. People will continue to build off their style into their homes or through their pets – cementing these categories from one-off trends to staple items. In this permanent hybrid world, we can expect even more experimental consumer behavior across the board.”

In 2021, Afterpay saved consumers up to $459m in credit card fees and interest, where  consumers have used the payment solution to shop online and in physical stores at their favorite brands, including a strong lineup of new merchants to launch this year. 


About Afterpay Limited

Afterpay Limited (ASX: APT) is transforming the way we pay by allowing customers to buy products immediately and pay for their purchases over four installments, always interest-free. The service is completely free for customers who pay on time – helping people spend responsibly without incurring interest. As of June 30, 2021, Afterpay is offered by nearly 100,000 of the world’s favorite retailers and more than 20 million customers have signed up in North America alone.¹ 

Afterpay is currently available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, where it is known as Clearpay. Afterpay is on a mission to power an economy in which everyone wins. 

(1) Based on Afterpay sales from October 1, 2021 – December 27, 2021
(2) Based on Afterpay sales on November 26, 2021
(3) Figures released in FY 2021 Results
(4) Source: Frontiers in Psychology, Touching to Feel: Brain Activity During In-Store Consumer Experience
(5) Source: Accenture, The Economic Impact of Buy Now, Pay Later in the US
(6) Late fees may apply. Eligibility criteria apply. See for full terms.

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