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2022 plans: What shoppers want and how merchants will deliver

Two years of living with a global pandemic have reshaped expectations for consumers and retailers in 2022. Shoppers plan to travel and buy new clothes, and many retailers will continue practices they started during the pandemic—like offering flexible options for payments and returns.

Shoppers want more of what they’ve missed

Results of our Affirm Consumer Spend Report show that shoppers are eager to spend more on things that they didn’t buy as frequently in 2021. Their top 3 priorities are:

  • New wardrobe/clothing - 19%

  • Experiences - 18%

  • Travel - 16%

The online survey was conducted by OnePoll for Affirm in November 2021, with a panel of 2,000 U.S. adults. 

Participants were also asked about their interest in buy now, pay later (BNPL) options, which became more popular during the pandemic. More than half of the respondents (56%) said they’re interested in using a BNPL service like Affirm during 2022.

Many people also expressed strong preferences for pay-over-time options:

  • 58% would rather use BNPL than a credit card

  • 49% will only buy from retailers that offer a BNPL option

“Our latest Consumer Spend Report shows nearly half of consumers will only complete a purchase if a merchant offers a pay-over-time option at checkout,” said Silvija Martincevic, Affirm’s Chief Commercial Officer. “This shows how important it is for retailers to offer customers payment flexibility that will not only increase conversion, but will also help to bring those customers back after holiday shopping is over.”

Merchants stick to best practices from the pandemic

In fact, most businesses that added flexible payment options during the pandemic plan to continue them into the future. According to our Merchant Insights Report, here are the main pandemic-related practices that small and midsize businesses plan to keep:

  • Flexible purchase options (54%)

  • Online sales / e-commerce (53%)

  • Digital payments (51%)

  • Flexible return options (47%)

Many merchants today understand that shoppers like having more choice in how they pay for their purchases. An overwhelming majority of respondents in our survey (76%) agree that adding a flexible payment option like Affirm is a valuable way to drive growth as well as reach new customers.

The report also showed that more than 3 in 4 merchants (76%) agree that the pandemic has made it more important for their business to sell both online and in-store.

“Delivering a consistent omnichannel experience will be a top priority,” said Greg Fisher, Chief Marketing Officer at Affirm. “Offering consumers the flexibility to pay over time in an integrated and seamless manner, both online and in-store, will be even more important this year.”

Affirm’s omnichannel solution can help you boost sales everywhere your customers shop. Whether you’re focused on e-commerce, in-store, or telesales, our solution is optimized to drive sales and seamlessly integrate with your existing technology.

Learn more how Affirm can help grow sales for your business.