PayPal achieves record volume in Q1 and reveals plans for super app

  • PayPal delivered record volume and added more than 14 million accounts in the period.
  • And the payments giant is now setting its sights on developing a super app that could help bolster more growth.
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PayPal’s total payment volume (TPV) jumped 46% year-over-year (YoY) on a constant currency basis, reaching $285 billion, per its Q1 earnings release.

Recent results are a sharp increase from the same period last year, when TPV grew 19% YoY. The payments giant added 14.5 million net new active accounts (NNAs) in the period, bumping its total up to 392 million. By comparison, PayPal added 20.2 million NNAs in Q1 2020, 10 million of which were organic, with the remaining portion stemming from its Honey acquisition.

PayPal’s cryptocurrency business and buy now, pay later (BNPL) solution helped it pull off record performance in Q1.

  • PayPal saw higher engagement thanks to its crypto service. On the company’s earnings call, CEO Dan Schulman noted that nearly half of all crypto users opened the PayPal app every day. The service, which lets customers buy, sell, hold, and—most recently—spend cryptocurrencies in the PayPal wallet, has been a focal point for the company in the last few months. Since launching in November, PayPal’s crypto trading has already extended to Venmo, and the service might expand even further—rumors recently circulated that PayPal is thinking of developing a stablecoin.
  • And its BNPL solution grew popular among merchants and customers. Schulman revealed that since Pay in 4’s launch late last August, more than 500,000 unique merchants have added its solution. Further, 50% of first-time customers used the service again within 3 months. Since its launch, PayPal’s BNPL solution generated $2 billion in TPV, with some of that volume contributing to Q1 growth. And with the offering reportedly set to launch in Australia in Q2 and throughout much of Europe by the end of the year, PayPal could see further growth, especially as BNPL surges in popularity.

The payments giant revealed plans to launch a super app in Q3, which has the potential to turn PayPal from a nice-to-have app to a need-to-have app. Schulman described the app as an all-in-one platform that’ll provide customers with a “customized and unique shopping, financial services, and payments experience.”

PayPal’s ambitions sound similar to what Alibaba built with Alipay in China—but is now required to dismantle. Depending on the app’s specific offerings, it might have the potential to make PayPal the go-to destination for all consumer and merchant needs—which would solidify PayPal’s standing in the payments market and throttle competition.

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