Sunday, March 3, 2024

Atome logs higher partner sales, growing merchant network in 2022

Atome, a subsidiary of Singaporean tech company Advance Intelligence Group, recently reported that the average “basket size” of Filipinos who avail of its Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) financial service has increased by 30%, driven by recurring traffic from its existing user base and an omnichannel approach to both offline and online retail.

Powered by its own risk engine and AI-powered solutions, the BNPL platform allows users to purchase products from partner merchants online and in-store and split the bill into three equal payments, spread 30 days apart, with the first one taking place at the point of purchase.

Across eight markets where it has presence, Atome has onboarded more than 15,000 merchant partners to its platform and boasts 30 million registered users in Asia. Since the company’s inception in 2019, Atome has built a team of 1,200, with more than 100 talents hailing from the Philippines.

At home, Atome realized its growth target since it branched out to local shores in October of 2021. Over its first year of operations in the country, Atome has seen a 30% increase in total gross merchandise value (GMV) and grew its merchant partner network by 800% to more than 1,500 both from online and offline.

Categories are led by fashion, lifestyle and accessories, and travel. Brands distributed by PH conglomerate Suyen (i.e., Bench, Human, Kashieca, Cotton On, Aldo, Charles & Keith, Jo Malone, Mothercare, American Eagle and La Senza), as well as health and beauty care chain store Watsons Philippines, which integrated Atome as a checkout option for physical locations.

“It’s really a product that is fit for consumers… no interest, no hidden fees, everything is mentioned ahead,” shared Atome Philippines general manager Zine Nedil.

“Growing merchant sales by 30X in our first year is strong testament to BNPL’s value proposition especially among younger, tech-savvy Gen Zs and millennials. Having the trust and partnership of key merchants like SM and Suyen while delivering business growth and ensuring a good consumer experience during Covid-19 is extremely encouraging,” he continued.

Currently, Atome directly engages with customers via the in-app loyalty rewards program Atome+, while its counterpart for physical in-store purchases is with a dedicated Atome card.

Moving forward, Atome has expressed plans to add multi-tenures plans of six and 12 months aside from its existing three-month offering.

“We don’t really compare so much with what you’ve probably seen because others would be charging interest – basically they’re more consumer lending than an actual Buy Now Pay Later. When you look at the categories they cover versus ours they’re very different, a lot of them would really focus on gadgets, electronics, appliances and furniture – high ticket items. That’s not really what we started focusing on,” said Atome Philippines head of business development Sheila Sta. Ines.

In 2021, a report from Research and Markets showed that the BNPL market was valued at $141.8 billion, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 33% until 2026. A separate report from Juniper Research, meanwhile, says that BNPL users will reach 900 million by 2027, up by 540 million from 2022 levels.

In Malaysia, the growing BNPL market is driven by five to six major players and based on a report from Ken Research, Atome holds the title as a market leader. In the Philippines, Atome attributes its unprecedented growth to its expanding partner merchant base and high-recurring customer purchases.

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