Lifestyle choices and the future of payments: Adapting to shifting consumer trends

With the 2021 holiday spending season well underway, amidst the backdrop of a lingering pandemic, one payments trend is here to stay: lifestyle commerce.

Embracing this trend means connecting how consumers shop with how they want to pay. Consider the latest data from the Adobe Digital Economy Index, which projects global online spending will rise 11% year-over-year to a staggering $910 billion this holiday season. Given those projections, Adobe’s estimates peg online spending to hit $4.1 trillion in 2021.[1]

The rapid shift in online spend, particularly during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, makes a case for how payments technology supports core business objectives. Adobe’s analysis attributes one key driver that supports what payments pundits have suggested will set the tone for the future of the industry: “flexibility in how and when consumers choose to shop."[2]

Today, lifestyle choices are synonymous with digital, fast and convenient — three factors also supported by integrated digital payments technology. As lifestyle choices continue to dictate consumer spend, payments partnerships play a larger role in owning the customer experience. Below we break down what this means for businesses’ ability to leverage payments as a core customer loyalty tool.

Lifestyle Commerce and the Future of the Customer Experience

Enabling payment experiences that align with a consumer’s lifestyle isn’t about the payment mechanism, but the desired outcome that the method delivers. When a customer feels empowered by payment choice, particularly those that are seamless and align with how they are already interacting with a retailer, the greater the chance of conversion.

Lifestyle commerce today boils down to using technology to enhance digital interactions by reducing friction through simpler checkout experiences. A Research and Markets analysis pinpoints how mobile is driving the customer payments journey ubiquitously between apps, e-commerce sites and in store with proximity payments. The analysis concluded that “mobile use for pre-buy research and payments is a greater part of retail sales than much of the conventional wisdom now believes.”[3]

Customer experiences today are being defined by more than just how they feel about the brand. Consumer perception often is about how technology supports their existing lifestyle, and how compatible that experience is at the time a customer is ready to convert. In a world where consumers have more choices than ever, the data is clear: digital is winning, and businesses that don’t adapt will have a difficult time gaining their share this holiday season and beyond.

Where Mobile Counts: Meeting Customers at the Point of Interaction

Meeting customers in the “here and now” is a rising trend that’s driving the future of payments and commerce. Supporting what customers want means having payment methods that meet customers at their most valuable point of interaction. AKA: When they are ready to convert.

Making payments a natural extension of a customer’s purchasing decision is what makes digital payments technology so valuable — it can be embedded anywhere into the customer journey to support a simple, secure checkout. Thanks to innovation in digital payment technology, and a rise of partnerships across the ecosystem, businesses have more opportunities to use payments as a key component of the customer experience.

If you consider where consumers are conducting a majority of their financial experiences, the shift has already gone digital. The days of having to worry about the physical location of a bank branch, for example, are fading, and consumers are getting more comfortable moving money via digital apps to support their evolving lifestyle that is increasingly via mobile and on the go. How consumers shop, live and pay is adapting to the same mechanisms — further blurring the lines between payments and commerce.

The best news for any business? You don’t have to go at it alone. Delivering customer-centric payment experiences today that are built around lifestyle choices can be done with cloud-based technology, like Netspend’s open APIs, that allow for businesses to customize the payment experience across many commerce environments.

Any consumer with a smartphone today is equipped with a payment device at their fingertips, which means the opportunity has never been greater to capitalize on using digital payments technology as a key revenue driver. Through simple and advanced technology, brands can create differentiated commerce experiences that deepen their role in a customer’s lifestyle in a way that drives loyalty through the power of payments.


Derek Tanis is the Senior Vice President leading Netspend’s Consumer Partnerships team, where he is responsible for a wide variety of strategic partnerships including PayPal, Western Union, ACE, Samsung, 7-11, HEB, The Austin Football Club and Albertsons as well as all of the brick and mortar distribution partnerships across the country.  Derek leads a sales team where they are responsible for selling the company's innovative suite of payment solutions including embedded financecard programs and program management services.

Tanis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a JD from the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder.


1. Adobe Digital Economy Index, August 2021

2. Adobe Digital Economy Index, August 2021

3. Research and Markets, US Mobile Payments Market Report 2021, July 2021