Buy Now Pay Later Marketing: Brands and Market Overview

Łukasz Pośpiech

As the Buy Now Pay Later market continues its impressive growth in 2023, entering the BNPL industry advertising opportunities is a much-recommended practice for all companies. That is why it was included in Commerce Media ecosystem, boosting the user experience and advertisers’ convenience.

Below, we have prepared a shortlist of the most influential BNPL industry entities that offer eliciting advertising opportunities for worldwide brands.

What are BNPL solutions?

Interest-free installments and flexible payment options are steadily becoming more important as changing users’ preferences have evolved in favor of Fintech solutions. Since BNPL providers have significantly increased their user bases, as well as the number of offered merchants, these platforms are currently more than valuable for advertisers.

BNPLs are user-friendly solutions that shift from the status of market trends to serious competitors of conventional financing providers like traditional banks. As the name suggests, Buy Now Pay Later offers delayed payments for shopping online, giving users time to consider whether their purchase was the right decision, and prepare for the expense.

BNPL business models vary depending on the chosen platform, but the most prolific companies offer four installment plans that are interest-free as long as users respect payment deadlines.

Who are BNPL users?

By offering interest-free installments, Buy Now Pay Later services appeal to audiences concerned about their spending and seek chances to utilize a privacy-oriented and cheaper format of consumer credit.

The popularity of these services is most visible among younger consumers from generations Y and Z. These users, who are currently setting trends in marketing, are known for their reluctance toward conventional banking solutions, loans, and credit cards. Studies show that 67% of Millennials do not have credit cards, and more people aged 18-34 are afraid of debt than of death or war.

Ascent’s study shows all marketers the extent of increasing adoption of Buy Now, Pay Later. Their 2021 research found that 55.8% of American consumers have used some form of BNPL services, and more than half of those who have not, believe they would try it within the following 12 months.

Buy Now Pay Later marketing opportunities

With this unoverlookable Buy Now Pay Later market growth, advertisers now have access to excessive, and well-converting traffic. Brands can find purchase-oriented users through precisely tailored Search Autocomplete and Tiles Suggestions, directly answering their queries.

NewProgrammatic offers advertisers and brands a chance to access this constantly growing volume of traffic, and present the keyword-targeted audience with the intent-matched proposal. This applies to all advertisers, and not only the ones who offer BNPL payments. Key players like Klarna aren’t promoting BNPL merchants’ offers only, as the company dreams of becoming a search engine more than a marketplace.

What does it mean for brands?

Bidding for BNPL industry traffic is something that should be present on every Digital Marketer’s agenda in 2022. There are many perks for brands in terms of increasing brand safety, competitiveness in the market, making the brand more visible to customers, and reaching a purchase-oriented audience.

5 things to remember about Buy Now Pay Later audiences and conversions

Buy Now Pay Later offers have a rather characteristic audience that could be shortly described as purchase-driven. The further conclusion is that these users should be more than wanted by all advertisers, as their motivation for entering BNPL platforms is to either find some interesting offers or finalize the purchase.

Below, find some of the most interesting/important aspects of engaging with BNPL audiences. These should give all marketers a clearer view as to why it is so beneficial to have their brands displayed in vastly growing search bars.

Growing user-base

Users are what drives the BNPL industry forward, and that is why it was not until the pandemic online shopping popularity, that Buy Now Pay Later platforms’ numbers really skyrocketed.

In the US only, and we would like to remind you that this market is still catching up to Europe, Australia, and New Zealand in terms of BNPL popularity, there were 45.1 million BNPL users in 2021. This is almost quadruple what was seen before the COVID-19 pandemic, as in 2019 there were “only” 11.6 million users in the US.

More customers and users mean that advertisers can access a wider, more diversified, and yet still purchase-driven audience.


An Average Order Value (AOV) is an important indicator of campaign success, as the higher the AOV there is, the more revenue for a brand from just one conversion. The fact that BNPL solutions are most popular in richer societies – Western Europe, The United States of America, Australia, and New Zealand – means that the shopping carts are more likely to be packed.

Klarna’s study shows that some brands could increase their AOV even as much as 33% just by implementing BNPL payment options, which is definitely something worth reaching for. With the same number of orders, the brand is simply able to generate more revenue. Increasing AOV means that with the same marketing efforts and spending, the brand generates higher ROI.


The impressive transaction volumes are also something that should speak directly to advertisers’ hearts. This is a chain reaction, as the more users access the larger number of merchants, the more impressive the overall results will be.

The conservative projections show that by 2025 the global BNPL volume will rise to $680 billion. However, some experts claim that by 2024 the US market only will provide $100 billion worth of transactions.

These rising financial BNPL performances mean that brands are able to increase their sales simply by offering their services and products to bigger and richer audiences.

Merchants number

Joining BNPL solutions by new merchants and advertisers is something that happens every second. Sezzle (now acquired by Zip) shared information, that their platform offered as many as 47,000 merchants at the beginning of 2022. Klarna on the other hand boasts of how their 400 thousand worldwide merchant base is constantly growing.

An increasing number of merchants does not necessarily mean that it will be much harder for brands to reach new customers. With programmatic solutions like Search Autocomplete, everybody can access keyword-targeted, relevant audiences.

The biggest and most prolific worldwide luxury attire, sports, house decor, nutrition, and food brands have already decided to jump in on the BNPL wave. It’s a brand-safe and reliable source of traffic, and therefore even the companies that dominate usual SERPs understand the value brought in by a highly-converting BNPL audience.

Top-performing GEOs

As we already signalized in the AOV section, marketers should consider buying BNPL ad space, as it reaches the audience that comes from GEOs (countries and regions) considered by the industry as Tier 1. These are developed countries with high consumer needs and the highest possibilities for brand-safe and quality advertisers.

Scandinavia is home to BNPL solutions, as the pioneer, Klarna, originates from the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Nordic countries, alongside Germany and the United Kingdom, are not only one of the most developed in the world and Europe but also some of the most prolific BNPL spenders.

Australia and New Zealand are home to some most cutting-edge BNPL solutions providers, too. This is not an accident that these, both richer and fast-developing societies, have become keen users of BNPL offers.

There is still plenty of areas for BNPL traffic to grow in the United States of America, as the society there is slowly but steadily getting convinced of these solutions. Industry analysis shows that the market in the United States is expected to grow by more than 66.5% in 2022.

The Asia-Pacific region should be considered a potent field for BNPL development, too, and definitely, a place offering an incredibly big consumer base. However, there is more time needed for these markets to fully realize the potential held by BNPL market opportunities. The BNPL spending in Vietnam reached $40 million in 2020.

BNPL service providers overview

As the BNPL industry is constantly growing, all marketers should be aware of the buying benefits listed above. The biggest platforms that are available for users and advertisers are definitely the most competitive, but also the most rewarding places.

With frequent changes and acquisitions, it will be best to keep track of all the BNPL industry news. Agreements and mergers open major new possibilities for advertisers that should unquestionably be capitalized on.

Klarna Bank AB

Let’s start with one of the world’s leaders in the BNPL segment – Klarna. The Stockholm-based fintech giants started operating in 2005 and over almost two decades impressively expanded their global reach.

According to an official financial report published by the company, in 2021 Klarna dominated the market and managed to connect its consumers with more than 400 thousand retailers from all around the globe. Their merchandise volumes jumped to $80 billion from $53 billion in 2020 and $35 billion in 2019. That means that YoY the company noted around 151% volume growth, which only showcases how much trust they get from users, and how much need there is for the BNPL services.

Besides offering up to 4 interest-free installments, Klarna has become a growingly important search engine used for finding the best-fit products. Their reports reveal that the solution managed to attract 147 million users from all around the world, and major brands like Nike, H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB, and ASOS are only some examples of brands that are present there.


PayPal in 4

As one of the biggest alternatives to traditional banking in terms of online payments, PayPal decided to offer a BNPL service to their 426 million customers. PayPal in 4 offers split payments to everyone who wants to use PayPal at checkout: 25% of the total price will be deducted from users’ accounts right away, and another 3 equal installments are due every 2 weeks.

The fact that payments could be controlled via the widely-owned PayPal app and that the service is secured the same way that every PayPal transaction is, lures in millions of customers. By introducing the BNPL offer, PayPal immediately reached a big Buy Now Pay Later market share, granting all of its users access to the service.

Thanks to that, over 400 million users have been granted access to BNPL payments available on all the websites that offer standard PayPal transactions. This should not be surprising that the service stormed the market, and according to C+R Research, PayPal is the most used BNPL provider (used by 57% of retailers) in the world.

We saw a 400% year-on-year rise in our volumes going through ‘buy now, pay later’ this past Black Friday [2021]. It’s booming right now. We had more than 1 million first-time users for the first time ever in the month of November.

Dan Schulman, the CEO of PayPal

Zip (previously QuadPay)

Australian BNPL giants Zip completed the acquisition of US-based QuadPay service in Q3 2020, and a year later started merging the two brands together. While Zip is mostly focused on Australian traffic, QuadPay was one of the most prominent brands in the United States, and the merger enabled both companies to vastly expand their worldwide reach.

Zip is currently operating in 12 markets, and its 2021 annual report shows a 147% increase in revenue ($397.5 million), 176% transaction volume increase ($5.8 billion), and 248% customer number increase (7.3 million). A major part of this growth was possible by acquiring new partners including Sezzle, Spotii, Twisto, TendoPay, and Payflex.

QuadPay allows users to have their payments broken into four interest-free installments that could be paid off during a 6 weeks-long period. Zip, previously QuadPay, is used by some world-renowned brands to promote their products and services, and among those are the likes of Gamestop, Target, Airbnb, Booking, and Nike.

Zip (previously Quadpay)


The Australian company offers a BNPL solution that has been branded as the most suitable for students thanks to its smart credit limits. The payments are split into four parts, and the user is required to pay the first 25% of the price immediately. The following three payments are due every two weeks.

The company managed to start cooperation with Google Pay in 2020 when it started providing the giant’s users with the possibility to use Buy Now, Pay Later model while shopping with Google Pay. This opens up whole new traffic possibilities for brands that want to be advertising on the BNPL platforms.

In June 2021, the Afterpay platform had 16 million users and was cooperating with more than 85 thousand brands in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US, and the UK. Among those, users can find some renowned and well-established brands like Pandora, Crocs, Urban Outfitters, Adidas, Dr. Martens, and many more.



Affirm’s services allow users to shop in their favorite places, both online and in-store with the possibility of paying back in 4 installment-free parts. The company’s Q4 report shows the quick growth that allows brands to have access to a wider range of Affirm’s impressions:

  • Affirm claimed that their active merchants’ number grew to 29,000, which is a 412% increase. This happened also thanks to the company’s integration with vastly-growing Shopify.
  • The active customer base grew by 97% and exceeded 7 million.
  • There was an 8% growth in the number of transactions per average active user.

Affirm is a San Francisco-based company, and up until 2021, it operated on the market in the US only. In Q4 2021 it expanded to Australia, and even before that, it announced an Amazon partnership for BNPL payments of $50 and more.



Laybuy Group Holdings Limited has a BNPL platform that is gaining immense popularity in New Zealand and Australia, both being growingly important Buy Now Pay Later markets. Kiwi-originated service was also introduced to the United Kingdom, with Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) there reaching a 38% YoY increase. For New Zealand and Australia, Laybuy has registered a 25% YoY GMV increase for January and February 2022.

As for the active user base, Laybuy is closing to a big milestone of 1 million. There are also over 13,400 merchants available for these audiences, and on a quarterly basis, both of these numbers rise. A projected 43-48% revenue increase in the 2022 forecast period explains perfectly why Laybuy has ambitions of entering more markets and challenging bigger competitors.

Compared to most major BNPL platforms, Laybuy offers a quite favorable installment payments model, where expenses are split into six weekly parts. Laybuy automatically charges the credit card submitted by the user.


Apple Pay Later

Although Apple has not released any final version of its BNPL product, it has been almost official that this kind of service will sooner or later become available for Apple Pay users. Especially since Apple Pay services are used on an everyday basis by over 500 million users, this could potentially be a game-changer for the Buy Now Pay Later industry.

The market impatiently awaits more news on that matter, as entering media buying opportunities with Apple BNPL services should be a viable option for all advertisers. But for now, we’re only suggesting preparing for the right moment.

How to start advertising on the BNPL provider platform?

In order to fully embrace the Buy Now Pay Later media buying opportunities, marketers will need a programmatic tool that helps them set up campaigns and access the highly motivated audience.

With these automated solutions, an advertiser is able to target a specific audience and reach it at the exact moment they require a recommendation as to where to finalize their purchases. All this without any privacy-violating third-party data processing. The BNPL advertising within the Commerce Media ecosystem is based on intent-targeting, as it proves to be far more efficient than typical demographic targeting.

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Łukasz Pośpiech

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