Pay To Play?
Great Ones, you’ve got the power — the purchasing power!
And all you Target (NYSE: TGT) shoppers out there have a bit more purchasing power than before.
Like the crack of the whip, Target snap-attacked — front to back — jumping on the “Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) bandwagon. Today, the bullseye bazaar announced it’s partnering up with Affirm (Nasdaq: AFRM) and a similar, but smaller, startup called Sezzle.
It’s gettin’, it’s gettin’, it’s getting kinda hectic in the BNPL space, and Affirm’s inking partnerships left and right. If you’ve heard of Affirm before, you’ve clearly been paying attention to your Great Stuff. (Thanks, by the way!)
Today’s Target deal further cements Affirm at the top of this brave new borrowing world.
The company is literally billing itself as “more transparent than your credit card” and has charged a total of $0 in late fees … ever. When you get preapproved with Affirm, it tells you the maximum you could spend with its lending program.
Nice, get that goal number burned into your head early.
When you go to buy stuff, the payment schedule you choose will determine how much you pay per month — and how much you pay in simple interest. If you’re a good lil’ borrower and want to pay everything back ASAP, you could get 0% interest on some purchases.
People want transparency. People want lower interest rates … or no interest rates at all. Affirm specializes on both of these fronts, much to the chagrin of traditional credit lenders (more on them in a sec). Otherwise, the company isn’t all that different from your standard credit-borrowing fare.
You still bought a bunch of junk you might not need … but hey, it’s all lumped together under one monthly loan in a handy app. Now that is innovation!
But it’s this feeling of flexibility — the ability to splurge for that $800 bean bag right here, right meow and treat yourself — that retailers like Target can now offer simply by joining the Affirm circle. Walmart, Expedia, adidas, Reverb.com, Nike — huge brands are already making out like bandits by working with Affirm.
When you offer more ways for people to spend money, guess what? People give you more money!
And just like many of you learned with your first credit card, with flexible spending often comes higher-value purchases. (Quiet now, I know, you were the responsible one and never spent above your means. Nice story, tell it to Reader’s Digest.)
If you were on the fence about that expensive TV upgrade? Pay no mind, just buy buy buy. Besides, that TV’s just $59 … right now, at least. We’ll worry about those other 11 months later.
RBC Capital Markets estimates that when a retailer offers a BNPL service like Affirm, sales conversions rise between 20% and 30%, while average transaction value shoots up 30% to 50%. More sales? Higher cart values? You’re pulling right at retail’s profit-hungry heartstrings here!
Plus, Affirm’s partnering with big-name merchants like Amazon and Target … right ahead of the holiday season. You can see where this is going.
Retailers have long warned of supply-chain hassles and shipping issues, urging people to start their holiday shopping now. But if you can’t pay now, don’t worry: Affirm’s got your back. What a win-win for retailers, Affirm and customers alike, right? What’s the rub?
And then … you have the traditional credit cards.
They’re eyeing the BNPL market with wide toothy grins. They’re starting up their own knockoff BNPL services. (And “Mastercard Installments” is just as boring of a name as it was last week…) Even the fintech disruption posterchild, Square (NYSE: SQ), is getting in on BNPL by buying up Afterpay.
Affirm can partner with any retailer it wants right now — and garner loads of Wall Street attention to boot — but the credit reckoning needs to happen. The Visas and Mastercards of the world are encroaching on Affirm’s disruptive niche. And when everyone’s in a niche … you have no niche.
How much will Affirm’s first-mover advantage matter when customers really just care about lower interest rates and transparency?
Credit lenders will either have to match Affirm’s zero-interest purchases or risk losing customers to these better, more flexible alternatives. And y’all know how well that’s going to go over with the credit card cabal…
If Affirm can keep tying itself to as many retailers as possible a la Bill Paxton in Twister, it might cling on to its BNPL crown as the credit-lending competition comes calling. And if that’s a ride you’d like to strap yourself in for … at least wait until AFRM shares settle down a bit from today’s excitement.
AFRM was up about 5% today on the TGT news, nearly breaking above all-time-highs, before it fell back to Earth.
What do you think about Affirm? Have you used a BNPL service before, or are you a big baller and pay in full upfront? Do you think the whole BNPL trend is a discouraging sign of consumers overspending? (Same as it ever was…)
Whatever you want to share … share what you’re up to these days: GreatStuffToday@BanyanHill.com.
Editor’s Note: The Biggest Tech Trend Of 2022 That Nobody’s Talking About
Right now, hardly anyone knows about this trend. But in just a few short years, “Digitarium” will become as common as the internet…
While most Main Street Americans have no idea how big this tech will be, 916 of the Fortune 1000 companies are going “all-in.”
If you and I shared similar pandemic experiences, then you probably haven’t worn a “real” pair of pants in … oh, I don’t know … the past 18 months or so. I’d go so far as to argue that ditching denim for loungewear was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise trash two years.
But now that businesses and schools have reopened and people are slowly creeping back out into the real world, denim demand has exploded — just ask our pal Levi Strauss (NYSE: LEVI).
The OG denim distributor just delivered stellar earnings that blew past Wall Street’s expectations. Revenue rose 41% to $1.5 billion, beating an anticipated $1.48 billion. Earnings also rang in at $0.48 per share, higher than the $0.37 per-share projection.
But according to CEO Chip Bergh, the fun doesn’t stop here: “Our expectation is that [the] holiday is going to be pretty good. We’re chasing demand right now, from a supply chain standpoint, to make sure that everybody can put Levi under their Christmas tree.”
Personally, jeans are the last gift I’d want for Christmas this year — not to mention that clothing gifts often end in disaster and disappointment — but I respect Bergh’s optimism.
Anything is better than Levi’s plummeting shares in those early days of the pandemic. So, how’s that for a little afternoon LEVI-ty?
Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB) stock sailed into orbit this morning after the company announced it won a hard-fought contract with NASA to help aeronauts launch new tech into space.
The tech in question is what NASA calls an “Advanced Composite Solar Sail System,” or ACS3, which uses sunlight to move objects in space: “Just as a sailboat is powered by wind in a sail, solar sails employ the pressure of sunlight for propulsion, eliminating the need for conventional rocket propellant.”
Riiiiiight. That completely clears it up for me, thanks.
Basically, if you stuck a bunch of mirrors onto, say … a satellite … and launched that puppy into space, when the sun hit the mirrors attached to said satellite, it would create enough force to move it around. And here I thought the ol’ mirror-sun combo was just for burning ants to a crisp. (No ants were harmed in the making of this e-letter.)
Considering Rocket Lab just went public via a SPAC merger in August, this is a major win for early RKLB investors. Shares shot up nearly 7% following this morning’s announcement. But seeing as NASA’s ACS3 launch isn’t scheduled until mid-2022, there’s still plenty of time for Rocket Lab stock to blast off.
As if Twitter (Nasdaq: TWTR) didn’t have enough cash on hand already, the social media magnate just announced that it was selling its third-party mobile ad platform MoPub to California tech company AppLovin for $1.05 billion. Chicka, chicka, yeah!
Twitter snatched up MoPub for an estimated $350 million back in 2013, which means it’s walking away with a cool 200% profit on the sale in just eight years.
“The transaction increases our focus and demonstrates confidence in our revenue product roadmap, accelerating our ability to invest in the core products that position Twitter for long-term growth and best serve the public conversation,” said Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey.
That revenue roadmap Dorsey’s talking about? It’s Twitter’s plan to hit $7.5 billion in revenue by the end of 2023 — a figure it’s already well on its way to achieving.
We’ve said this before in Great Stuff, though the sentiment bears repeating: If social media stocks are your particular cup of Darjeeling Limited, then Twitter is worth taking a look at.
Not only is it rapidly ramping up its daily average user count — it just hit 206 million daily users back in July — but its name also isn’t getting dragged through the mud over privacy concerns like some other social media companies I know … cough, cough, Facebook.
Someday, Tilray (Nasdaq: TLRY) investors will start looking forward to quarterly earnings instead of running for the hills, but alas … it’s not this time around.
Revenue shot up 45% to reach $168 million, but the overeager Street expected $172.6 million. Analysts want to talk about Tilray “maximizing near-term profitability” … but just one look at its recent earnings show how well that’s going.
For the quarter, Tilray’s earnings came in at a loss of $0.08 per share. It’s a minuscule improvement to Tilray’s $0.09 loss per share a year ago … but Wall Street expected just a $0.06 loss per share.
As with literally any other cannabis stock, earnings will continue to be the craw in many investors’ jaw for … well, as long as it takes for Tilray to turn its rather impressive revenue growth into actual earnings.
Tilray reported that its “SweetWater and Manitoba Harvest products in the U.S. are helping it toward profitability,” but we all know that the one thing that would truly help Tilray’s profitability is full-blown legalization.
Until then, Tilray better hope it can keep maximizing whatever juice it can out of the higher-margin medical market. And Tilray investors might be waiting some more time for pot stock profitability that’s always “just around the riverbend!”
What’s on your mind this week, Great Ones? We’re only one day away from Reader Feedback, so make sure your voice is heard and write to us pronto!
GreatStuffToday@BanyanHill.com is your home for hot takes and spit takes, investing questions and random market tomfoolery too. Whatever you want to write, we want to read!
In the meantime, here’s where you can find our other junk — erm, I mean where you can check out some more Greatness:
Until next time, stay Great!