This Week in eCommerce, September 10, 2021

Brittany Blackman
Sep 9, 2021

BNPL Generating $100 Billion In Sales

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) platforms are taking eCommerce by storm. One moment, Afterpay was the main player in the market, and now it seems as though a new BNPL platform is launched monthly. 

They’re multiplying rapidly for a good reason. According to Forbes, consumers will make almost $100 billion in retail purchases using BNPL programs in 2021—up from $24 billion in 2020, and $20 billion in 2019.

There has been a recent spike of mergers and acquisitions within the BNPL space, that highlights just how rapidly the industry is growing. Let’s break it down per Forbes: 

  • Amazon partnered with Affirm Amazon shoppers will be able to split purchases of $50 or more into smaller, monthly installments. Affirm said some loans will come with 0% APR, while others will bear interest.
  • PayPal will stop charging late fees on BNPL payments. Since its launch, more than 7 million consumers have used PayPal’s BNPL service, purchasing more than $3.5 billion of products.
  • Square acquired AfterPay. The deal will bring AfterPay’s merchant relationships into Square’s seller ecosystem and help to convert AfterPay’s existing customer base into Cash App users.
  • Apple announced a BNPL offering. Apple Pay users will be able to make interest-free BNPL purchases, choose any credit card to make the payments, and avoid late and processing fees with certain plans.

When you break down specific demographics, further growth is inevitable. Gen Z folks are rapidly adopting BNPL programs, proving their longevity across such a young demographic. The percentage of Gen Zers in the US using BNPL has grown from 6% in 2019 to 36% in 2021. Millennials’ use of BNPL has doubled since 2019 to 41%. 

Amazon Launching TV

There is no industry or product unturned by Amazon. The company has now set its sights on launching their very own TV, as soon as October 2021. 

The company launched an AmazonBasics TV in India late last year. They’ve also teamed up with other manufacturers to exclusively sell TVs with its Fire TV software built in, but those models have always carried the branding of the manufacturer, like SONY. In India, the 55-inch version currently sells for around $588 while a 50-inch version costs about $506. 

According to Business Insider, this project has been in the works for almost two years. The teams from the Amazon Devices unit and Amazon’s Lab126, are working together to bring the project to life. 

The TVs will be Alexa-powered (but, of course they are), and are currently being designed and manufactured by third parties like TCL, a fast-growing Chinese manufacturer that has also made TVs for Alcatel and Samsung. The models are expected to be big screen TVs in the range of 55 to 75 inches. They are due to be released as soon as October, but the rollout has been facing some logistical problems. 

While some customers have praised the televisions as a good value, multiple reviewers have complained the AmazonBasics logo flashes on screen for 15 minutes before they can watch programming, or that Alexa malfunctions. So we’ll see how the new rollout goes. 

TikTok reportedly overtakes YouTube in US average watch time


TikTok’s rapid growth since 2019 is a sight to behold. One minute it seemed like a lot of us old folk were asking our peers “what even is TikTok?” Now, if you aren’t on the app, you’re missing out on cultural resets, and incomprehensible trendsetting. 

And the numbers are here to prove it. TikTok’s users now spend more time each month watching content than YouTube users, according to a report from app analytics firm App Annie.

In the US, ByteDance’s app first overtook YouTube in August last year, and as of June 2021 its users watched a staggering 24 hours of content per month, compared with 22 hours and 40 minutes on Google’s video platform. In the UK the difference is even more stark: TikTok overtook YouTube in May last year and users there now reportedly watch almost 26 hours of content a month, compared to less than 16 on YouTube.

However, it’s important to note that the figures only include viewership on Android phones, so it may not be fully representative of mobile users as a whole, the report said.

But caveats aside, they show the extent of TikTok's meteoric rise over just a few short years. The numbers are even more impressive given the three-minute maximum of most of its videos, compared to the 10-minute format preferred by many YouTube's. Not to mention, the three minute feature is relatively new, for years it was a one minute maximum, making the time spent on the app even more mind boggling. This also proves that we as a society are getting closer to sharing attention spans with goldfish, but it’s fine. 

Of course, YouTube is still ahead in time spent overall, because of its two billion users compared to TikTok’s roughly 700 million.

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