- Installment payments firm Afterpay reported a 30% increase in average basket size for U.S. customers year over year during the holiday season, according to a company press release.
Popular products included thermal knits, socks and pajamas from Old Navy, Crocs, fleece-lined boots and slippers, per Afterpay.
Afterpay users accessed the platform online and in physical stores through its retail partners.
A need for items that are comfortable and cozy drove holiday shopping this year, according to Afterpay. This demand falls in line with previous research from NPD Group, which forecast that sweatshirts, sweatpants, active bottoms, sleepwear and socks would comprise 31% of total U.S. apparel spending this past season.
"In times of crisis, consumers seek both simplicity and familiarity, and this influences their shopping practices," said Shakaila Forbes-Bell, Afterpay's resident consumer psychologist, in a statement. "During a particularly challenging holiday season, it's no surprise that shoppers turned to the 'good old days' and the associated fashions to bring about a positive emotional response."
A turbulent economy that's still in the middle of a pandemic and a stimulus package that didn't arrive until after the holidays may have played into consumers looking into alternative payment methods. The model, which allows consumers to make purchases and then pay for items in installments over time, has grown in popularity and is now offered by companies like Afterpay, Klarna and Affirm. Other businesses have launched their variations, including Shopify, which began offering "Shop Pay Installments" last spring, and PayPal, which introduced "Pay in 4" and allows customers to pay for purchases between $30 and $600 over six weeks and manage their payments within the company's app.
In October, Afterpay expanded its program to select retail stores via a virtual, contactless card found in the customers' digital wallet. Earlier that month, Macy's announced a five-year deal with competitor Klarna to give customers four interest-free installment payments on their purchases.
Over 13 million U.S. customers have signed up for Afterpay, and the company has around 64,000 global retail partners.