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Afterpay doubles customer numbers as popularity for buy-now-pay-later platforms surges

Strong growth in the US and the UK, but Klarna is putting Australia’s leading checkout lender under pressure.

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Australian buy-now-pay-later platform Afterpay (or Clearpay as it’s known here in the UK), has revealed it more than doubled its customer numbers globally in the second half of 2019.

The numbers published in its half-year report show the company had more than 7.3m active customers by December 2019, a 134 per cent increase in the same period the year before.

The company also saw an 86 per cent increase in the number of retailers and merchants on its platform, including Marks and Spencer, ASOS and Footlocker here in the UK.

Through the platform, consumers spent A$4.8bn (roughly $3.1bn) in the last six months of 2019, an increase of A$2.5bn from the year previous. However, the company’s results come just a day after rival Klarna released its record figures—by contrast, Klarna has a massive 85m customers globally who spent $35bn in 2019.

Despite both buy-now-pay-later platforms seeing huge growth last year, both reported losses, highlighting that the push for global expansion can be a costly one.

Anthony Eisen, Afterpay’s CEO and managing director, said: “Our global expansion is accelerating with the US and UK growing at considerably faster rate than what we experienced in ANZ.

“The US now represents over 30% of the Group’s total underlying sales and has the largest number of customers actively using the platform.”

“Early customer cohorts in Australia are now transacting at an average of 23 times per year and our customers in the US and UK are following the same trajectory at the same point in the lifecycle.”

Afterpay has 3.1m customers in Australia, 3.6m in the US and 600,000 in the UK.

Klarna recently announced the launch of its services in Australia and subsequently saw Australia’s largest bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), investing a A$300m stake in the company, a potential threat to Afterpay’s persistent push for growth.

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