Australia-based Afterpay expands offering into Quebec as buy now, pay later space heats up

Australia-based Afterpay will now offer its services in French in a move to target the Quebec buy now, pay later (BNPL) market.

The BNPL company, which offers customers the opportunity to receive products immediately and pay for their purchases in four installments, expanded into Canada in August. Shoppers in Quebec can now use Afterpay at partnering Canadian and international retailers, choosing either English or French as their preferred language.

“Our expansion into Quebec, as well as our cross-border capabilities, is giving Canadian merchants more ways to connect.”

At the end of September, Afterpay claims its platform is offered at nearly 64,000 worldwide retailers, while more than 11 million customers have transacted using Afterpay in the past 12 months. In November, the company began offering cross border shopping, which opened Canadian storefronts to international customers.

The expansion into Quebec for Afterpay highlights an increasingly competitive market in the BNPL space. In December, Affirm, which also offers BNPL services, announced its intention to purchase one of the leading BNPL Canadian firms, PayBright, for $340 million CAD, including cash and equity consideration. The deal, expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, could be worth significantly more than that value following Affirm’s IPO. Its initial IPO more than doubled in value on Wednesday in its first day of trading. As reported in the Globe and Mail, PayBright investors could stand to receive $583 million CAD worth of shares, and as much as $900 million including the escrowed stock, or 165 percent more than the original price of the deal in December.

Another Canadian company that has benefited from Affirm’s success is Shopify, which signed a three-year exclusivity agreement with Affirm to offer its instalment financing plan to Shopify’s merchants. As part of that deal, Shopify received warrants to buy Affirm shares, which are now valued at just under $2 billion USD following Affirm’s IPO.

BNPL services have become increasingly attractive as retailers, according to PayBright data, report a 25 percent increase in sales conversion rates, while average order value using a BNPL service is 30 percent higher than when not using BNPL. BNPL also shifts the risk of fraud and non-payment to third-party BNPL services like Affirm and Afterpay.

“Our expansion into Quebec, as well as our cross-border capabilities, is giving Canadian merchants more ways to connect with our network of young and engaged shoppers who deliver higher order values, increased conversion, and higher sales,” said Melissa Davis, head of North America for Afterpay.

Image by Bench Accounting via Unsplash

Scott McLean

Scott McLean

Former public affairs professional. Retired amateur comedian. Vegetarian. Journalist.