Buy now, pay later? Layaway apps see triple-digit growth amid pandemic shopping

Some of the country’s biggest retailers are resurrecting a modern version of a long-retired payment option similar to layaway or rent-to-pay — buy now, pay later.

With over 11 million people still unemployed due to the pandemic, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, Target and Amazon are some of the hundreds of retailers who are offering shoppers a way to parse out interest-free payments debited from a bank account over time for holiday gifts instead of forcing consumers to pay with high-interest credit cards.

“The millennials and Gen Z generation saw their parents go through an immense amount of hardship [during the financial crisis] where the American consumer was over-leveraged,” Rafe Petkovic, chief revenue officer of Columbus, Ohio-based payment solutions company Klarna, told NBC News. “Today’s consumers are certainly wising up, and that has been a significant acceleration in the market opportunity here today.”

Already, consumers have used their money differently from the generation that survived the Great Recession. In the first three months of 2020, consumers improved their average credit scores and decreased delinquencies across all debt, according to a September analysis by Experian credit-reporting agency. However, in 2008, going into the recession, consumer debt spiked by 4 percent, credit scores went up by just two points and delinquencies were reduced at a slower rate than today’s borrowers.

Over Black Friday weekend, one company said it processed five times more transactions than in its first four years of operation combined.

“Though the current recession’s initial three months of consumer debt and credit data paint a positive picture of consumer finances, unemployment has spiked to historic highs in 2020,” the bureau reported. “As income declines and stimulus aid continues to lapse, consumers’ finances may change as people seek ways to cover their expenses.”

Before the pandemic, the digitally native younger generations were already quickly adopting “point-of-sale” loans from companies such as Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna and Quadpay. But over the course of the pandemic-induced recession, these payment options have skyrocketed with the rise in e-commerce and the willingness of retailers to work with customers, David Bassuk, a managing director with AlixPartners, told NBC News.

Consumer downloads of Klarna are up over 106 percent from last year, Petkovic said. In the first month of the pandemic, Affirm saw a 163 percent increase in home fitness sales, and home office sales grew 200 percent. Over Black Friday weekend, Afterpay said it saw a 186 percent increase in sales, while Klarna said it processed five times more transactions over the weekend than in all the first four years of operation combined.

“We think this is just the start of more disruption to come,” Petkovic told NBC News.

The loans work like this: Retailers pay a transaction fee on every sale, and shoppers pay their balance over time with their debit account. Affirm, which charges interest rates between 10 and 30 percent, report to one credit bureau. But Klarna, Quadpay and Afterpay do not. Each company charges a late payment fee that ranges from $35

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Demand for shopping apps spikes ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are expected to be key mobile shopping events, according to data from mobile analytics and insights provider App Annie.

Consumers are estimated to spend over 110 million hours in shopping apps on Android devices during the shopping period that now extends over two weeks.

And mobile is a key device this season given the quick adoption of mobile in light of the coronavirus crisis.

App Annie said that demand for shopping apps was up in the days before Black Friday with Walmart ranking top among US shopping apps overall, followed by Amazon, Target, OfferUp and Wish.

The rapid adoption of shopping apps is also having an effect on ad spending.

Data produced by MoPub earlier this year found that ad spend on retail apps grew 32% year-on-year in October 2020.

John Bonanno, Revenue Manager at MoPub said: “This data suggests that despite everything that happened in 2020, there is still increasing interest in the retail/apparel sector and the holiday shopping on mobile should be at full swing.”

Full and rewarded video mobile ad formats have proven most effective for larger retailers according to the research. Rewarded video click-through rates grew 7.2% year-on-year.

“One interesting trend MoPub has noticed in recent months,” John Bonanno noted, “ is an increase in CTR for Big Box Stores for app-endemic full-screen ad formats including rewarded video. This tells us that advertisers are successfully expanding into newer ad formats to engage audiences.”

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Interest on Dating Apps Drop for Women Named Karen

Finding love is hard as it is in 2020, but neo-acts of racism among white supremacists have made that quest even harder. 

The dating app Wingman released research stating that it’s now more difficult for women with the name Karen to get a date. The app found that matches for women named Karen dropped more than 20 percent in 2020 when compared to results from the previous year. Also, responses to messages sent by women named Karen dipped close to 33 percent. 

Wingman CEO and founder Tina Wilson claims that she wasn’t surprised by these stats because dating sites seem to reflect real-world issues. 

“The trends we observe with online dating usually reflect what’s going on in the real world,” Wilson said in a press release, per Yahoo!

This comes after the term “Karen” became a popular way to describe aggressive white women displaying classist, racist, and/or other prejudices actions based on societal privilege. “Karen” is most commonly accompanied by a viral video of a white woman being unnecessarily belligerent or rude to another person/group of people. 

However, those with the name Karen seem to be aware of this, even going so far as to include variations of the phrase “She’s not a real Karen” in dating profiles to thwart disinterest in potential suitors. Additionally, the research found women whose name is a variation of Karen—like Karin, Carin, or Caren—don’t suffer the same consequences as their counterparts. 

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Find Black Friday, Cyber Monday deals using these apps

In spite of the global pandemic – or perhaps because of it – we’re likely to treat our family and friends to some great gifts over the holidays.

Black Friday deals: Find sales, clip coupons with these apps



Given the challenging year we’ve just endured, you shouldn’t pay more than you need to. There are a handful of apps, web sites and browser extensions, each designed to sniff out the best deals over the coming weeks.

With the popular Flipp app, view the latest circulars (ads) and online coupons from your favorite local stores, and create a Watch List for something you’ve had your eye on.

© Handout
With the popular Flipp app, view the latest circulars (ads) and online coupons from your favorite local stores, and create a Watch List for something you’ve had your eye on.

That is, while Black Friday may look a little different this month, these services help find deep discounts at retail on Nov. 27 – and online, too, of course – followed by Cyber Monday on Nov. 30.


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In fact, brick-and-mortar stores and online marketplaces won’t likely be too picky about specific dates this year, and so you can expect many of these sales available leading up to and perhaps just following these days – though it’s smarter to shop earlier than later for fear of sold-out items.

To help identify the best deals, the following are five fantastic freebies to download at the App Store (for iPhone, iPad) or Google Play (for Android devices), or to access in a web browser.


Focusing on your local retailers, Flipp not only aggregates all those paper store circulars we get delivered to our door, but it also highlights the best deals, too – including Black Friday sales.

Simply browse by store (such as Walmart or Dollar General) or type in a word in the search window, to begin flipping through ads. Tap and hold to learn more about a product or quickly tap to virtually clip it into your shopping list.

Instagram: Social media adds Reels, Shop tabs in its home screen, removes Search, Notifications tabs

In fact, it’s a “smart” shopping list that also lets you type in a word, like “laptop,” and it will show you the best related deals nearby. Or take advantage of the new Watch List feature that tracks deals based on what you have your eye on.

Flipp is ideal for consumer electronics, household items, clothing, and even your weekly groceries shopping, and will also let you load coupons to your digitized loyalty cards so that you can save instantly at checkout.


graphical user interface, text, application: With about 12 million users, Slickdeals is considered the largest social platform for scoring deals at retail and online. With the Slickdeals browser extension, get early access to best-of-web deals, as vetted and voted on by its community.

© Handout
With about 12 million users, Slickdeals is considered the largest social platform for scoring deals at retail and online. With the Slickdeals browser extension, get early access to best-of-web deals, as vetted and voted on by its community.

Dubbed the

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These 3 apps will help you find the best holiday shopping deals, experts say

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s easy to get carried away with spending during the most wonderful time of the year — AKA holiday shopping season — but that doesn’t mean you should, especially if money is tighter this year than in previous ones.

To avoid overspending, Money saving expert Andrea Woroch recommends getting your holiday shopping done early, according to News 6 sister station WDIV in Detroit, since shopping early can help spread purchases out over a longer period and avoid debt or racking up high credit card bills.

[RELATED: Smart holiday shopping: Avoiding fake reviews and tricky ads | How to save money using artificial intelligence]

But before you start shopping, it’s important to make a list of who you need to shop for and map out a budget.

“I would definitely recommend getting organized, making a list, setting a budget because your finances may have changed this year versus last year,” Trae Bodge, a lifestyle expert, told WDIV.

Once you’ve set that budget, you can start hunting for deals to make sure you stay within it.

Here are a few apps and browser extensions Woroch recommends to help you stay on track and spot those opportunities to save:

  1. Flipp: According to WDIV, this free app pulls at the store circulars, enabling consumers to review deals in one place. It also alerts consumers to deals. The Flipp App also allows users to create their own digital shopping list — which will be easy, because you’ll have already crafted yours elsewhere — then instantly finds deals for the items on their list, according to its website. If you have loyalty cards at any stores, you can add them to the app and clip coupons digitally.
  2. Popcart: Remember when kids were going crazy over Hatchimals that one Christmas a few years ago and parents were setting up camp outside stores in hopes of being there in case they were restocked? Well, using Popcart might help you avoid ending up in a similar situation in the event your child just has to have whatever toy is next to be all the rage. Oh, and remember when people were waiting in outrageously long lines for toilet paper at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic? This browser extension likely could’ve prevented that, as well, since it sends you in-stock alerts for hard-to-find items based on your location. Popcart can also make comparing prices easy because it shops for your desired items across multiple retailers at once, according to the app’s website.
  3. Cently: This extension is for everyone who’s ever spent way too much time surfing the internet for coupon codes only to try dozens at checkout and never find one that actually works. Uh, isn’t that the worst? According to the app’s website, you never have to search for a coupon code again because “Cently automatically sniffs out and applies coupons for you at checkout, to ensure you score the best deal — every time.” Yes please. In addition to finding you coupons, Cently
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Global smart accessories market to reach over half a billion units in 2021, Device Software & Apps

Monday, 3 November 2020

The latest Canalys forecast expects shipments of smartphone accessories, namely wearable bands and TWS devices, to exceed 200 million units and 350 million units respectively in 2021.As the COVID-19 pandemic deepened globally, consumers turned their attention to smart wearable and smart hearable accessories. Canalys research shows that compared to smartphones, wearable bands and TWS earbud categories will be more resilient against the pandemic, with shipments projected to grow at a healthy rate of 32% in 2020. In addition to Greater China and North America, smart accessory growth in the Asia-Pacific and European regions is expected to be strong.

Wearable bands and TWS earbuds are some of the few strategic winners of 2020. “The pandemic will prolong replacement cycles for smartphones. However, the ‘lipstick effect’ will drive consumers to spend on smaller, less costly items during an economic downturn to meet their buying pleasures,” said Canalys Research Analyst Cynthia Chen. “Consumers’ attention to health and wellness has increased significantly during the pandemic, which is a great opportunity for wearable devices, such as those from Xiaomi, Garmin, Fitbit and Huami etc. Engagement in indoor activities such as remote learning, working from home and home entertainment, as well as outdoor sports and recreation also continued to rise. This ushers in greater than expected growth, particularly for TWS headphones, such as those from Apple, Samsung, Jlab and QCY etc.” TWS earbuds are expected to grow 39% in 2021 to reach over 350 million units, much more robust than wearable bands, which are expected to grow at 12% in the same year.

Chinese smartphone vendors are also looking outwards to growth opportunities in overseas markets in the wearable band and TWS headphone categories. “Despite the likelihood of needing more time to recover from the pandemic, Southeast Asia nations are attractive due to its large population base and proximity to China. Some Chinese players that already have well-established channels are leveraging cross-border e-commerce platforms to reach users and shipping devices directly from China or Hong Kong,” added Chen. “Chinese players are well poised to offer more choices, especially with affordable and appealing devices that resonate well with local users. They are expected to play a big part in pushing the overall APAC region to surpass North America to become the second-largest region for wearable bands and TWS headphones in 2024.”

Vendors still need to be on high alert to the possibility of subsequent waves of infection affecting their IoT expansion plans. “While users are expected to tighten their spending, they continue to demand devices to do even more and provide an excellent user experience. The challenge here is to bring incremental upgrades to ever more affordable devices while ensuring seamless integration that must translate to valuable features to help users in areas such as wellness and smartphone entertainment,” added Chen.

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Ask Brad: What Shopping Apps Do You Use? | Lifestyles

Ask Brad: What Shopping Apps Do You Use?

By: Brad Wilson, National Lifestyle Content Desk

In this week’s Q&A, Brad Wilson from Brad’s Deals answers questions on his favorite shopping strategies — and how to use technology to find the best deals.

Q: What’s your strategy for getting everyone crossed off that shopping list?

Brad: Sometimes figuring out what to buy for someone can be hard. When that comes up, I definitely make it a point to regularly check out the Brad’s Deals Holiday Gift Guide. It has tons of giftable options at different price ranges, and new deals are added throughout the holiday season. There are classic gift items, and also creative, outside-the-box ideas. You can view the gift guide online and through our mobile apps.

Q: When it comes to online tools, what do you prefer using?

Brad: I love using the combination of the Brad’s Deals app and deal alerts. It is such a timesaver. I just go to the “Deal Alerts” section on the app, and enter keywords or brands, and then select if I want an email notification, a text notification, or both. I usually go with the text notification. That way I find out right away when a new deal is posted that matches my alert. Once I’ve ordered what I need, I can turn off the alert (and probably set a few more).

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Women, Don't Be A Victim – Get Help and Stay Safe With These Apps

Today, different mobile app development companies worldwide are working on various innovative and unique app ideas. Developers are devoting themselves to come up with easy-to-use user-centric apps having a creative concept. Thus, women safety apps are becoming popular in the market.

Sexual assault, domestic violence, rape etc. are some of the alarming issues that women face these days! To diminish the chances of happening such remorseful crimes, taking necessary measures on time as soon as you can sense any trouble is advisable. In today's tech-savvy era, plenty of mobile apps are available in the market that can help the women to get instant help in the case of an emergency or dangerous situation. Such women security apps can avert the risk along with providing necessary help in the time of need. Here is a list of a few competent apps that are extremely handy for women.

# 1 Hollaback
This app is very useful to avert any kind of street harassment. Women can take picture of the harasser and can share this "caught in the act" picture instantly along with the story on the This would definitely awake the sense among the public and the shared story and picture of the harasser would stop other perverts to get into similar kind of nuisance activities. Hollaback is available for both Android as well as iOS platform and the user can get this application for free of cost.

# 2 Circle of 6
To all the women out there using the iPhone, this is a must-have application for your security! Using this feature-rich app is extremely easy. There are three predetermined text messages among which one would reach to the total six emergency contacts of the users' preference when the user taps on the app twice. There is an automatic calling feature to one of the 6 contacts. Moreover, this automatic call would include the exact location of the victim. It would also include the home address of the victim. Other than these features, Circle of 6 has some pre-programmed emergency helpline numbers. The app is available for free but to get the fully functional application, the users need to subscribe to a yearly or a monthly service plan.

# 3 bSafe
Using bSafe, women can select a set of "Guardians", to whom SOS message would reach with just a simple push on a button. In the free version of bSafe, one of the guardians would get an automatic call as well. All the guardians would receive text messages along with the exact GPS location of the victim. Another interesting feature offered by the app is the victim can program a 'Fake Incoming Call' in the case of emergency. Obviously, the subscription version of this app comes with more facilities such as the 'Timer Mode' for automated alarm activation and the 'Risk Mode' with the facilities of GPS tracking in real-time. bSafe is available for Android, iPhone and Blackberry.

# 4 cab4me
Sensing trouble? Call and get a cab at any …

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