During the holiday shopping period, nearly 80% of U.S. shoppers who completed transactions using the Afterpay service did so using mobile devices.

Compared with last year, pay-in-installment consumers in 2019 did more of their online holiday shopping on mobile devices and less on desktops, according to data released this week by Afterpay Ltd.

Afterpay—an Australian financial services company that offers consumers the chance to pay for online purchases over time and interest-free—says 78% of its U.S. customers used mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to make online purchases from Nov. 15 through Dec. 31, 2019. That’s up 11 percentage points from 67% during the same period in 2018. In the United States, Afterpay has more than 3 million active users and works with 9,000 U.S. retailers, which the company says represents more than 10% of U.S. fashion and beauty retailers.

The growth of mobile shopping underscores the need for retailers to make shopping on smartphones and tablets as easy as possible, says Ben Pressley, executive vice president of sales, operations and strategy at Afterpay. Retailers who don’t optimize their websites for mobile shopping create an unnecessary amount of friction in the buying process and risk losing customers, he says.

Among Afterpay’s U.S. customers, the top-selling items these shoppers paid for in installments during the 2019 holiday period were basketball shoes, running shoes and cosmetics. The best-selling brands within those categories were Colourpop Cosmetics, Jeffree Star Cosmetics and the apparel and accessories brands Levi’s, Nike, Ray-Ban and Steve Madden. Top retailers AfterPay consumers shopped were shoe seller DSW Inc. (No.184 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000), GOAT (an online marketplace for sneakers), cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty (No. 91) and apparel and lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters Inc. (No. 45). 



More than 3 million active customers have used the Afterpay service at a U.S. retailer this year, the vendor says. The majority of those consumers are millennials (ages 23-36) or younger. The company, which operates in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, works with more than 42,500 retailers and has 6.6 million active users worldwide.

Afterpay’s report also included holiday sales data from the combined Australia and New Zealand markets and the United Kingdom. In Australia and New Zealand, 75% of its customers made purchases on mobile devices, while 25% used desktops, compared with 60% and 40%, respectively, in 2018. In the U.K. (where the company is called Clearpay), 89% of customers used mobile devices in 2019, while 11% used desktops. 2018 data for the U.K. was not available.

Afterpay says it handled $1 billion of monthly underlying sales in November, representing the highest monthly performance since inception. During the first 5 months of fiscal 2020 (which started July 1), underlying sales totaled $3.70 billion, the company says.