Making The Grade: How BNPL Encourages Parents’ Buying Power

With the return of regular schooling fast approaching, families are budgeting for all the necessary items on their back-to-school lists. After the long break away from in-person learning, parents are expecting to invest more dollars in supplies for their children than in previous years. In a normal year, school parents usually start shopping five weeks before school starts, but with COVID concerns, they are hesitant to take the leap too soon. 74% of parents are being cautious, holding off a little longer than usual to see what happens. But with the first day of school on the horizon, they are coming around to the reality of the situation and beginning to tick off the boxes on their lists. On the whole, most parents set a budget and stick to it, but still would like help staying on budget, and Buy Now, Pay Later can help them to achieve this. 

In an online survey of 1,304 shoppers in August 2021, Netfluential sought to gain insight into back-to-school shopping trends across the US. It was found that a full two-thirds of school parents would like help managing their back-to-school spending. It is noteworthy that the average budget for parents on the whole is $386, whereas the average for BNPL parents – knowing they have the option to pay over time – have the confidence to increase their budget, with their average spend being $452: 17% more than most parents. BNPL use also affects their ability to keep to their budgets. While 83% of parents in the survey set a back-to-school budget (87% of BNPL users), only 53% of parents were able to stick to it, compared to 70% of those who are BNPL users.

In the past, only about one-quarter of parents have used BNPL for back-to-school purchases; of these, they have mainly used the payment plan for financing new school clothes, electronics, and travel. But BNPL parents will not hesitate to turn to BNPL wherever they need help stretching their budgets, including smaller items such as stationery, backpacks and lunch boxes.

Savvy BNPL Users Maximize Their Budgets

As 65% of parents are looking for ways to help manage their back-to-school spend (current BNPL users are higher at 79%), BNPL offers a strong potential solution for them. 84% of current BNPL users intend to take advantage of the interest-free plan to help budget their back-to-school payments. Having used BNPL before, they are confident in how it can help them to pay over time, and help keep them on budget by spreading their payment out over four installments. 68% of parents (including those who have never used BNPL before) would consider BNPL as an option to help them manage their back to school purchases. Having a BNPL option available helps parents make all the purchases they need in time for the start of school, while allowing them to pay over time, interest free, without overspending on their current budget.

Merchants Benefit from Buyers’ Confidence

Merchants can only benefit from providing a BNPL option – not only for parents budgeting their back-to-school purchases, but as a way to introduce this payment option to their customers as an alternate way to manage their purchases throughout the year. 89% of school parents agreed that BNPL enables them to make purchases they otherwise would not be able to afford. They find value in the ability to pay in installments over time and interest free, and being able  to monitor their spending. Plus, they appreciate that it is fast and easy to use.  Paying over time allows them to increase their spend, which not only helps them get what they need right now, but it brings in larger sales. In addition to this, Sezzle offers the option to build their credit score, the only BNPL provider to offer this service. 

Merchants With Clear Social Missions Stand Out

Having a clear social mission and making sustainable choices is another dynamic that factors in highly with school parents when making back-to-school purchases. Nearly 70% of parents believe that it is important to purchase from a store that has a clear social mission, and plan to make more sustainable choices this year. This rises to over 80% for BNPL parents. Sezzle’s commitment to social good addresses this concern: as BNPL’s only B-Corp, Sezzle partners with like-minded brands in their effort to address social responsibility. 

BNPL provides benefits to both merchants and their customers that no other payment option can deliver. While all other payment options find themselves struggling to make the grade, BNPL remains at the head of the class by providing benefits to both merchants and their customers.

Source: Netfluential and Sezzle Back to School Study August 2021.  Online survey of 1,300 parents of school aged children (K-12, College)

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