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Younger U.S. Consumers Are Supporting Small Medium Businesses Through Afterpay

Afterpay’s SMB merchant network has grown by 55% in 2023, helping more businesses connect with younger consumers.1

Amidst challenging economic times, younger consumers made up the largest segment of those shopping small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) through Afterpay over the past year. While all generations showed a strong intent to support more SMBs in Q1 2024, Gen Z spend increased the most, up +11% year-over-year.2

Afterpay helps growing merchants stay ahead of the competition by meeting next-gen customer demands for an improved omnichannel checkout experience while enabling responsible spending. This is especially important for younger, conscious Americans, who want to engage with merchants that align with their values of transparency and flexibility, where Afterpay was recognized as one of the most trusted offerings among those who tried it.

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While apparel and accessories remain top of mind, younger consumers are looking towards SMBs for broader categories including health and beauty, home and garden, arts and entertainment, hardware, and electronics, which are traditionally thought of as big box purchases. Next-gen consumers are also choosing Afterpay to alleviate financial stress related to life moments including preparing for a baby or buying a home. Some of the fastest growing items purchased from SMB were outdoor furniture accessories +236% year-over-year, baby and toddler furniture +111% year-over-year, and jewelry +18% year-over year.²

As an omnichannel solution, Afterpay has delivered meaningful value to SMBs, giving them a better chance to compete with bigger businesses while receiving all payments made through Afterpay upfront. SMBs that partner with Afterpay have unlocked growth through increased average order value, reduced return rates, and increased brand relevance with next gen shoppers. In Q1 2024, a consumer discovered a new merchant through Afterpay every 5 seconds.3

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“While SMBs have been squeezed at every turn by macro pressures, they’ve been able to leverage solutions like Afterpay to meet the demands of younger consumers who want more flexibility in how they shop and pay. As a result, Afterpay has become an important asset for SMBs and we take pride in being part of the journey as these businesses grow and become even more profitable,” says Heawon Kim, Head of SMB and Mid Market Partnerships, Afterpay and Cash App.

The Afterpay community is currently made up of more than 180,000 small and medium businesses across the US, with Afterpay’s SMB merchant network growing by more than 55% in 2023.¹ Afterpay has helped generate an incremental $8.6 billion in retail sales, which allows merchants, especially SMBs, to support jobs and economic activity directly within their businesses as well as reducing costs of attracting and serving customers.4

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