BNPL, or Buy Now Pay Later, is a payment option that has been gaining massive popularity in Southeast Asia, especially among younger shoppers.
The BNPL payment option allows consumers to purchase goods that they may not normally be able to afford by breaking down payments into instalments. This short-term credit system is similar to the traditional hire-purchase models with a fintech twist.
First emerging in Asia around 2014, BNPL has since become extremely popular in more advanced e-commerce markets such as China, South Korea, and Singapore. In China, the BNPL market is expected to grow to $750 billion by 2025, a 2500% growth from $30 billion in 2020.
In a recent study, online retailer ZALORA found that BNPL is becoming the most preferred cashless payment method in Southeast Asia. In 2022, BNPL payments grew by 226% in urban areas with outskirt areas almost matching pace, growing by 190%.
By 2025, the total value of transactions in Southeast Asia for digital credit methods such as BNPL is expected to hit USD92 million. With such enormous growth expected, many fintech players in the region are seriously jumping on the BNPL bandwagon.
So, what is driving this massive growth? Let’s take a look.
5 key trends driving BNPL growth in Southeast Asia
- Rise of e-commerce
The rapid growth of e-commerce in Southeast Asia has played a significant role in the rise of BNPL. With more consumers shopping online, the demand for flexible and convenient payment options has also increased. BNPL services offer a simple way for consumers to pay for their online purchases, as it is very often a more attractive option than other credit options.
- Young and tech-savvy population
Southeast Asia has a young and tech-savvy population that is highly comfortable with digital payments. As the region continues to its march towards a cashless society, BNPL services are becoming an increasingly popular alternative payment option for shopping compared to traditional credit cards.
- Convenience and flexibility
With BNPL, consumers can split their payments into more manageable amounts to be paid over a period of time. This can be especially beneficial for those who need to make larger purchases but do not have the funds available upfront.
- Low entry barriers
BNPL options typically have low entry barriers making them accessible to a wider range of consumers. Unlike traditional credit cards and loans, BNPL services do not require a high credit score or extensive documentation. This makes it easier for consumers to access credit and make purchases.
- Rising number of partnerships with merchants
Many BNPL providers have formed partnerships with e-commerce platforms and traditional retailers, making it easier for consumers to access BNPL services. The momentum of the BNPL payment industry in the Asia Pacific is set to continue with BNPL players expanding into new categories to drive growth amidst rising competition. More products and services being offered on BNPL is likely to further fuel the trend.