PYMNTS BitPay Study: How Consumers Want To Use Crypto To Shop And Pay in 2021 And After

cryptocurrency tokens

The valuation of cryptocurrency markets hit $2 trillion for the first time in April as consumers started snapping up blockchain bucks, then seeking out how and where to spend them.

For the PYMNTS May 2021 Cryptocurrency Payments Report: How Consumers Want To Use It To Shop And Pay, a BitPay collaboration, researchers surveyed a census-balanced panel of over 8,000 U.S. consumers on this hot topic, examining consumers’ crypto wants and wishes.

Among findings from the new data is that current users, former users and even nonusers “are eager to own and use cryptocurrencies for making purchases in the future, going so far as to say that they would if more merchants accepted it. Eighteen percent of the adult population is likely to use cryptocurrency to make a purchase, some 46 million consumers, including 17 million nonowners. Those who have made purchases with it bought everything from real estate and jewelry to groceries and food from delivery aggregators.”

Sounds like a new payments method going in mainstream directions, and crypto certainly is.

Per the new report, “12 percent of consumers (a projected 30 million) currently own one or more cryptocurrencies, 4.5 percent (11.5 million) have owned them in the past and 17 million nonowners may acquire cryptocurrency for making purchases in the near future.”

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Millions Of Consumers Are Beyond Crypto-Curious

A fascinating finding in the new research points to consumer intent regarding cryptocurrency ownership and spending. It’s captured the public imagination, and that’s invaluable.

“Consumers’ comfort level with making purchases using cryptocurrencies is high among current owners but is notably strong with those who have never owned cryptocurrency,” according to the new Cryptocurrency Payments Report.

It notes that 57 percent of former or present cryptocurrency owners “made at least one purchase using it last year, and 59 percent of consumers who never owned cryptocurrency are interested in using it to make purchases in the future. The fact that more than half of consumers who have never owned cryptocurrency are interested in using it in the future illustrates that consumers now perceive cryptocurrencies as a trusted payment option.”

And on what do these folks want to spend their converted crypto?

“Nearly half of cryptocurrency owners make purchases valued at less than $100,” per the new research. “This is particularly true for Gen Z, of whom 53 percent have made such a purchase, and millennials, at 48 percent. Thirty-one percent of cryptocurrency owners make purchases in the $100 to $1,000 range, and 19 percent make purchases that are valued at more than $1,000. Baby boomers, meanwhile, more commonly use cryptocurrencies for more expensive purchases. Forty-five percent of current and former cryptocurrency holders used them for making purchases in the $100 to $1,000 range.”

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Merchants Need To Step Up Crypto Acceptance

Which cryptocurrencies an individual holds can be influenced by diverse factors from deep market research to celebrity tweets. But the crypto-sphere is favoring some assets over others.

According to the Cryptocurrency Payments Report, “Bitcoin (BTC), the oldest cryptocurrency, is today also the most acquired, with 82 percent of current or previous holders owning it. Twenty-six percent of individuals who currently own any cryptocurrency solely hold bitcoin, while 46 percent hold bitcoin and another cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is also widely recognized by nonowners: 72 percent of them report that it is the most familiar coin, followed by bitcoin cash (29 percent).” Ethereum, the third-most owned cryptocurrency, is only familiar to 13 percent of nonowners. “Meanwhile, dogecoin, despite the recent hype, is far from being the most owned, as just 18 percent of nonowners are familiar with it,” per the report.

Another key observation from the study is how consumers view crypto, noting, “Nearly three-quarters of consumers view cryptocurrency as an investment opportunity, but that does not mean that consumers are not keen to use cryptocurrency for making purchases. More than 60 percent of current and past holders purchased cryptocurrency to be able to transact.”

They just need more places to spend their crypto. Merchants, take heed.

“Despite consumers’ growing appetite for owning and using cryptocurrencies, few merchants today accept them as a payment method,” the report finds, with “Two-thirds of cryptocurrency owners and more than half of nonowners” agreeing that not enough merchants accept crypto payments. “Merchants would do well to begin accepting cryptocurrency, as more than half … of cryptocurrency owners are more likely to buy from merchants that do, and 47 percent of owners seek out merchants that accept cryptocurrency to make purchases.”

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