Buy Now, Die Later?

Proprietary Data Insights

Top Technology Searches This Month

Rank Name Searches
#1 Apple 561,660
#2 Nvidia 448,296
#3 Amazon 447,902
#4 Advanced Micro Devices 347,694
#5 Alibaba 192,631

$1.103 Trillion

More signs point to the consumer debt bubble bursting sooner rather than later. Consider the latest data: 

  • At 4.4%, the personal savings rate is as low as it has been since September 2008. 
  • Seven in 10 Americans have turned to savings to deal with inflation. 

They’re also apparently turning to debt. 

  • Revolving debt – primarily credit card debt – jumped 19.6% in April, hitting $1.103 trillion. That breaks the pre-pandemic record of $1.1 trillion. 
  • Total household debt (so credit cards plus mortgages, student and auto loans, etc.) reached a record $15.84 trillion in April. 
  • 11.1% of Americans think they might miss a minimum debt payment this quarter. The feeling’s most prevalent among 40-to-60 year olds. 

Lesson here: Keep your plastic in your pocket at all costs. When shopping online, buy now and pay now! Don’t become part of this developing story. 

While The Juice is more concerned about traditional credit card debt, these Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) programs probably aren’t helping much. At day’s end, they’re often about people with little to no cash cushion spending money they don’t have.

Investing

Buy Now, Die Later?

Key Takeaways:

  • Most every move Apple makes generates significant hype. 
  • Its entry into the Buy Now, Pay Later space likely doesn’t deserve so much attention. 
  • Current BNPL players likely have nothing to worry about, at least when it comes to Apple. 

 

Quick. Do you know what the company BlackBerry (BB) does today? 

It’s okay if you don’t know. Most people don’t. Because, for all intents and purposes, Apple (AAPL) killed BlackBerry a long time ago. 

Will Apple Kill Buy Now, Pay Later Companies? 

Whenever Apple moves into an existing space, the financial and tech media claims the company will kill the major players. 

The Juice loves Apple. However, this likely isn’t the case with Apple’s foray into BNPL. 

Here’s why. 

Apple Isn’t Quite As Innovative Anymore

BlackBerry’s demise at Apple’s hands illustrates this reality with two points:

  • BlackBerry dominated the smartphone market prior to Apple’s iPhone with a focus on messaging via a physical keyboard. 
  • Apple decided to focus on apps. BlackBerry not only opposed, but chided Steve Jobs, with the company’s CEO infamously saying, You don’t need an app to surf the web.  

Jobs placed Apple’s bet on apps. He was right. It sealed Apple’s dominant future and ultimately put BlackBerry out of the smartphone business. 

Apple innovated. It took something existing and completely transformed the way it functions in our everyday lives. It’s one of tech’s biggest, most transformational stories of all-time. 

Nothing Even Close Is Happening With BNPL

Apple’s BNPL offering could not be more straightforward. And this is ultimately the problem. 

Come September, Apple Pay users can apply to use a buy now, pay later option for online and in-app purchases only. That’s it. No bells, whistles, or even a sniff of innovation.

But here’s the bigger problem. Apple Pay isn’t widely used. So, while a nice addition to the iOS ecosystem, BNPL integration right on your Apple device might not make as much a difference as some people seem to think. 

Source: PYMNTS.com

According to PYMNTs.com, just 1.1% of people utilized Apple Pay to make their most recent online purchase. At the moment, two of the nation’s biggest retailers, Amazon and Walmart, do not accept Apple Pay. They have their own BNPL arrangements with Affirm (AFRM) and PayPal (PYPL), respectively. 

The Bottom Line: Unlike iPhone, Apple Pay just isn’t the next big thing. Never was. Likely will never be. While it adds to Apple’s increasingly sticky ecosystem, on its own, it’s hardly a reason to get excited, let alone invest in the stock. 

You invest in Apple – for the long-term – because of the bigger picture. All of the things, taken together, it has going for it. 

Along similar lines, you don’t not invest in Affirm or other BNPL pure plays because of Apple. You stay away because these companies operate in an already crowded space and face significant headwinds, not the least of which is that consumer debt bubble we keep you updated on here at The Juice

And, oh yeah, as for BlackBerry. It now runs as a cybersecurity company. Makes sense given security was the main selling point – along with that physical keyboard – of the phone we used to call CrackBerry.

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