Speaking on Retail Week’s virtual panel discussion ’Buy Now Pay Later: Dying Trend or Enduring Solution?’, in partnership with Jaywing, Buxton said: “We have seen an increase in demand. We have seen more and more customers valuing the use of services and products like BNPL.

“It’s probably important to note why that is important for the sector we work in; a lot of the products we sell are expensive and a lot of those products are often unplanned purchases. So I think the BNPL product works extremely well for our sector.” 

He added: “It is a growing part of our business.” In two years Currys has doubled the size of its point-of-sale-finance business. “It’s definitely a big, important and growing part of our business.” 

This sentiment was echoed by fellow panellist, Apexx Global’s co-founder and chief strategy officer Rodney Bain: “I think it’s an absolute must-have.” 

He added: “The basket value increase that is seen by the BNPL solutions; the overall share of checkout BNPL solutions are seeing across retail in general and increasingly across other sectors such as healthcare and education; it’s only going in one direction.” 

Adrian Langford, who works with many retailers in his role as director of strategy and planning at integrated marketing agency and risk consultancy Jaywing, said the BNPL market is “booming” and noted examples that illustrate this.

“Klarna is working with 60% more retailers in the UK [this year] – 22,000 of them. The banks are getting on board. Barclays has launched its scheme. Natwest launched in June. Virgin Money’s scheme is imminent. In the States Apple is launching BNPL through Apple Pay, so that will inevitably be coming here.”

He added: “It still has compelling advantages for retailers in terms of reporting, higher acquisition – which is the number one impact they see when they introduce BNPL – and they are not giving away margin. Those greater numbers of new customers are more profitable for them.”

Ben O’Brien, Jaywing’s managing director who is heavily involved in the company’s risk consultancy, commented on the future of the payment solution, stating: “As we get into the cost-of-living crisis, the risks associated with non-payments of these BNPL credit terms will increase. This will impact not only the overall profitability of these deals for BNPL providers but also present potential reputational risks for retailers. This is the nuance we need to better understand.”

Buxton, Langford and Bain were joined by Jaywing managing director Ben O’Brien, and business-to-business print and digital design company Vista director of consumer strategy and insights Simon Braier for the virtual panel discussion, ’Buy Now Pay Later: Dying Trend or Enduring Solution?’, to discuss the topic in detail.

Meet the expert panel

David Buxton, Credit Director, Currys

David heads the consumer finance division of Currys and has successfully grown a number of business lines from project or start-up phase to growth and profitability. He has previously held roles at Sainsbury’s Bank, Virgin Money and Natwest. 

Simon Braier, Director of Consumer Strategy and Insights, Vista

Simon joined VistaPrint in February 2016 and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing strategy and insights, brand strategy and ecommerce. Prior to this, Simon worked for Microsoft and Nokia. 

Rodney Bain, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Apexx Global

Rodney specialises in complex payment setups and innovation in payment technology. Prior to founding Apexx Global with Peter Keenan and Toreson Lloyd, Rodney worked for brands including Deutsche Bank. 

Ben O’Brien, Managing Director, Jaywing 

Ben provides analytical consultancy to major UK retailers, banks and building societies. He specialises in data science, machine learning, credit risk management, fraud and forecasting.

Adrian Langford, Director of Strategy and Planning, Jaywing 

Adrian has decades of experience in account planning – the art and science of bringing research to bear on advertising strategy. He has held director roles at advertising agencies BMP and JWT, as well as spells at Ogilvy and McCann.