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BNPL Update: Apple to Join the Party

On June 6th, 2022, Apple made it official. They’re joining the “Buy Now, Pay Later” party with a brand new BNPL offering: Apple Pay Later.

The announcement, which came during their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), was unsurprisingly met with some anxiety in BNPL circles. After all, it’s not every day that a multi-trillion dollar company decides to take on your industry mano-a-mano.

Still, despite the David and Goliath aesthetics, companies like Klarna, Tabby, and Affirm have the high ground — if only temporarily. They’ve built offerings with millions of users that generate hundreds of thousands of global downloads on a monthly basis.

So, we decided to look at the numbers. We analyzed the three most popular iOS BNPL apps (Klarna, Tabby, and Affirm) to get a feel for how competitive the space is before Apple comes in to shake things up.

Here’s what we found.

Over the last 30 days, the iOS version of Klarna reeled in 2,470,747 downloads, making it the most popular iOS BNPL app in that time frame. It is currently ranked among the top ‘Shopping’ apps in 21 countries, including the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and many other important markets.

Tabby has also been extraordinarily successful, pulling in 593,067 downloads over the same period. It currently sits in the top 100 ‘Shopping’ apps in 9 countries. It’s especially well-ranked in MEA countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Ghana, Kenya, etc.

Finally, Affirm has been downloaded 367,413 times in the last month, making it the third most popular iOS BNPL app in that time frame. It’s currently ranked among the top ‘Shopping’ apps in just one country — the United States!

Klarna’s dominance appears to be growing…

Now, let’s expand the scope a bit. Here’s how these apps have fared thus far in 2022:

This chart tracks daily downloads between January 1st, 2022, and June 6th, 2022. As the key indicates, Klarna is in red, Affirm is in purple / blue, and Tabby is in green.

Once again, Klarna stands head and shoulders above the rest, having racked up some 10,106,948 downloads (year-to-date). Moreover, its popularity keeps growing. While Klarna’s iOS downloads tended to fluctuate in the 50,000 per day range, they began to take off in March. As of today, the app is generating closer to 100,000 daily downloads, with a record high of 124,548 downloads on May 21st. Ironically enough, this spike coincided with news that Klarna’s valuation dipped 30%, perhaps proving the old adage that there’s “no such thing as bad publicity.”

In any case, despite not attaining the high watermark set by Klarna, neither Tabby nor Affirm has struggled much in 2022. They’ve pulled in 2,634,550 and 1,643,413 global downloads, respectively. Moreover, Tabby is getting between 20,000 and 25,000 daily downloads, while Affirm has consistently gotten between 12,000 and 16,000.

What does this mean for Apple Pay Later?

All things considered, the field is pretty open. Klarna is currently ahead of the iOS pack by a fairly wide margin, but it’s not an insurmountable lead. Indeed, back in September, when we first covered BNPL apps on our blog, we noted that Klarna could very easily be unseated by a service like Afterpay, Affirm, or an as yet unfounded start-up. So, Apple Pay Later is certainly in the mix. And whether or not they ultimately take over the BNPL space might be beside the point. They can absolutely carve out a sizable piece of the pie.

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