Gen X and Millennials Now Outspend Gen Z on Buy Now, Pay Later Services

Millennials and Gen X said they spent more than Gen Z when it comes to using buy now, pay later for online shopping over the past 12 months according to the latest Q3 2023 Consumer Pulse survey from a global information and insights company TransUnion

Compared to 54% of Millennials and 39% of Gen X who reported spending above £500, only 35% of Gen Z said they spent above this amount. 

This trend is expected to continue as both Millennials (32%) and Gen X (22%) say they are more likely to apply for buy now, pay later services in the next year, compared with Gen Z (15%).i 

Kelli Fielding, chief product officer at TransUnion in the UK, says: “It's interesting to see older generations increasingly embracing buy now, pay later services, and outspending their younger counterparts. It’s clear that for the majority, buy now, pay later is about convenience and flexibility, rather than being driven by financial constraints and that aligns with our expectations, based on our own extensive analysis.” 

TransUnion's survey of 1,000 respondents from 6-17 July, 2023 highlights that people choose buy now, pay later services to spread out payments (61%) and avoid interest (48%) – figures which are broadly consistent with the previous quarter.ii Interestingly, 34% of respondents said they would use their debit card as the alternative, emphasising this is a preferred way to pay for many, even when they have funds in their bank accounts to cover the cost of their purchase immediately. 

TransUnion was the first UK credit reference agency to introduce buy now, pay later data into consumer credit reports last year, helping to create a more complete view of a consumer’s financial position, supporting financial inclusion and wider access to credit. 

The latest research demonstrates that most buy now, pay later users handle their money responsibly. In fact, the majority (57%) of users spend less than £500 each year using these services for online shopping. 

Clothing remains the top spend category, with almost half (48%) of all consumers who use buy now, pay later while shopping online in the last 12 month did so for this purpose. Some seasonal fluctuations were evident. Nearly a quarter (23%) of consumers used buy now, pay later to pay for beauty products, an increase from the previous quarter—likely due to summer holidays and events.   


Unless otherwise stated, all figures are from TransUnion’s Consumer Pulse study, which is based on the survey of 1,000 adults in the UK, conducted in 6-17 July, 2023.   

i Generations are defined as follows: Gen Z, born 1995–2005; Millennials, born 1980–1994; Gen X, born 1965–1979; and Baby Boomers, born 1944–1964.

ii In Q2 2023, 60% of respondents said that spreading out payments is a factor in why they use buy now, pay later services, while 50% said that avoiding interest was part of their decision.