PayPoint, the service platform operated by many UK convenience retailers, has released results for six months to 30 September showing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the business and the changed missions of shoppers in convenience stores. Despite resilience in some areas of PayPoint's activities, especially B2B services such as EPoS and card payment solutions, revenue from its B2C services (still dominated by bill payments and mobile top-ups) fell by 12.7% over the period.
Traditional in-person bill payment down by 21.2%
Still representing over 30% of Paypoint's revenue, traditional in-person bill payment dropped by over a fifth in the period. With many users seeking to minimize time spent in store, its total number of bill payment transactions fell by nearly 26 million over the six months. As well as users making larger and less frequent payments, the need for people to go in store was reduced both by the willingness of energy companies to provide credit to prepayment customers, but also by an increased switch into alternative methods of payment, primarily digital. Of course, the biggest negative impact on transactions was felt early in the first lockdown and subsequent months saw some recovery. However, this recovery has not been sustained and even in September numbers of bill transactions were still down by 19%.
Parcel volumes down by 2.5%
Despite the acceleration of online shopping since March, traffic through the PayPoint parcel collection network also fell back slightly, with 300,000 fewer parcels being handled, despite an increase in participating stores. As well as users being less willing to go into stores to make collections, the substantial shift into home working in 2020 has also made home delivery a more convenient solution, with shoppers more often at home to receive parcels.
Growing B2B role
In contrast some of the changes brought about by the pandemic experience have played more in PayPoint’s favour. As a supplier of card payment solutions the business has seen a huge growth in card transactions in its retailers’ stores, with its revenue from the service up by 63.4% in the period from March to September, representing a 68.7% increase in transaction numbers. However, conversely ATM use fell as the use of cash has declined sharply. Meantime PayPoint continues to successfully embed itself at the heart of convenience retail, especially through the continued roll-out of its EPoS solution, PayPoint One, which went live in a further 802 stores, taking the total number of installations to 16,900.