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Square looks to expand into booming buy now pay later market in Asia-Pacific with Afterpay acquisition, says GlobalData

Following the news that Square, Inc has agreed to buy Australia’s ‘buy now, pay later’ solution (BNPL) provider Afterpay Limited for US$29bn;

Ravi Sharma, Lead Banking and Payments Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his views:

“Buy now, and pay later (BNPL) has been gaining prominence in Asia-Pacific with large number of payments and fintech companies looking to get a slice of this market. Square’s announcement to acquire Afterpay is the latest development in this space, as it looks to expand into the growing BNPL market

“Afterpay has presence across four markets-New Zealand, the US, Canada and the UK (where it operates under the Clearpay brand). Afterpay, a major BNPL operator in Australia, reported global sales of US$10.1bn in the first half of fiscal year ended 31 December 2020, a year-on-year 112% growth. It added nearly 23,000 new customers daily to its platform in the same period.

“The rapidly growing e-commerce market has further accelerated the demand for BNPL. According to GlobalData, Australia’s e-commerce market is forecasted to grow from A$60.6bn (US$46.7bn) in 2021 to A$91.5bn (US$70.5bn) in 2025.

“GlobalData’s 2021 Banking and Payments Survey indicates that Afterpay accounts for 7.7% share of the total Australian e-commerce market, compared to 5.5% in 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the demand for BNPL. As the pandemic affected income levels, consumers are increasingly preferring BNPL payment method to make purchases affordable.

“With consumer spending gradually recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, BNPL presents huge potential not just in Asia-Pacific but other regions globally. The acquisition of Afterpay will help Square expand in new geographies by leveraging Afterpay’s robust customer and merchant base.”

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