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Klarna still holds a strong grip on the UK BNPL market with 50% of users

Klarna is the leading Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) provider in the UK with 13 million customers using its products and services, but the Swedish FinTech reported $1bn of losses in 2022, its largest ever, adding to the strain of incoming regulation following the UK Government’s draft legislation in February. Buy Now Pay Later UK

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Despite losses, the UK giant continues to have a strong foothold in the marketplace. According to Auriemma Group’s latest issue of Cardbeat UK, 50% of BNPL users say they prefer Klarna to other BNPL brands. Clearpay comes in a distant second at 16%, with the remaining providers such as Laybuy in single digits.

Klarna and its competitors offer similar services, including 0% interest on installment purchases, and weekly or monthly repayment plans. One of the key differentiators, however, is each provider’s portfolio of merchant partners where customers can utilise the competing services.

For example, ASOS, one of the UK’s largest online retailers with 8.9 million customers, lists Klarna and Clearpay as BNPL options at checkout, while major sports retailer JD Sports has deals with Klarna and Laybuy. So, is it really just availability at checkout that drives usage?

BNPL Users Open to Trying Alternatives to Klarna, Says Auriemma Group’s Study

Auriemma Group’s research found that 31% of BNPL users have previously tried Clearpay and 12% tried Laybuy, compared to 50% who have tried Klarna. Furthermore, while 45% of BNPL users have only used one BNPL provider, a notable 36% have tried two or more, highlighting a willingness to use alternative providers even if they are not preferred. This open tendency could play to the advantage of regulated entities following February’s draft legislation.

Though Klarna remains the top BNPL provider for the majority of cardholders, a considerable portion have tried other options,” says Jaclyn Holmes, Director of Research at Auriemma Group. “This shows that accessibility can take priority over brand loyalty, highlighting an opportunity for the competition.”

While availability at checkout plays a large role in BNPL selections, familiarity with a provider is also important. 42% of credit cardholders say they would use Klarna if presented with the option at checkout because of familiarity with the brand. This supersedes user experience (23%), attractive rates (15%) and customer service (10%). More generally, 34% of credit cardholders say that familiarity with the provider has the greatest influence on BNPL usage through the strength of the terms and conditions (33%) are also a notable factor.

As regulated entities like NewDay with NewPay and Zopa make headway in the space, the focus on consumer awareness will be as critical, if not more, as product strength and customer experience.

Regulation may require changes from Klarna and others that disrupt their current customer journey, opening the door for competitors already accustomed to regulation,” says Holmes. “If new players can quickly build brand awareness and availability at the point-of-sale, we could see Klarna more readily challenged as consumers’ top choice.”

Auriemma Group will continue to monitor this space closely in upcoming Cardbeat studies and within its Customer Service Roundtable groups.

Survey Methodology Buy Now Pay Later UK

This Auriemma Research study was conducted online within the UK by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma in October 2022, among 800+ adult credit cardholders. The number of interviews completed on a monthly basis is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing between sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ± 5% unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed nor did the respondents know the criteria for qualification.

 

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