The online payments market has grown rather crowded in the last decade, and today there are a multitude of providers available to process digital transactions. Despite this, pioneering company PayPal has managed to retain a large share of users, especially in the UK.
The history of PayPal has been somewhat tumultuous, and there are doubtless areas where the provider could have taken better advantage of opportunities presented. Between 2002 and 2015, PayPal was exclusively the platform for eBay payments, a decision which limited options as time went on. An earlier split with the online retailer would have allowed PayPal to partner with more vendors much sooner, but the decision to remain allowed many more competing payment processors to flourish.
PayPal also missed out on developing a contactless payments platform, with Apple and Google now dominating that sector. PayPal has gone some way towards rectifying this omission when they launched a ‘super app’ in 2021.
Even so, PayPal is still one of the most popular and recognisable digital payment providers active today, and indeed the most popular of all in the UK. Here we take a look at the current state of PayPal in the UK in terms of usage, trust, and brand awareness.
PayPal’s UK brand awareness is very high
Perhaps unsurprisingly, since PayPal was one of the trailblazers of online payments, brand awareness among UK survey respondents stands at 96%. Awareness was based on recognition of the brand name and logo. In 2022 PayPal underwent a brand refresh, incorporating the gold colour from the payment button into the wider branding and using the double P logo in more creative ways. Evidently the company retained enough of the original brand aesthetic for it to remain highly recognisable.
The UK is one of PayPal’s strongest markets
PayPal is a US company, but it has encountered more fierce competition in its home country than in Europe. Consequently, the percentage of PayPal users is higher on this side of the Atlantic. User statistics taken between 2020 and 2021 revealed that 91% of UK online shoppers made at least one PayPal transaction during that period.
When it comes to returning users, the number is not quite as high. More recent statistical data reveals that frequent or returning users of PayPal are more in the region of 76%.
PayPal has a strong presence in the UK gambling market
One area that could help explain PayPal’s ongoing popularity in the UK is its presence in the online gambling market. PayPal provides a fast and secure transaction method, and the company only works with vendors that it deems reliable, like the gaming sites mentioned in this reliable guide to PayPal casinos. There are more than a hundred online casinos that accept PayPal in the UK, although this represents only a fraction of the total market. The number of PayPal casinos may be relatively low, but having this payment method available is a mark of quality for an online gambling site. Each year just a handful of new PayPal casinos are launched, all of which have passed the payment provider’s rigorous vetting process.
The UK has the second-highest number of companies accepting PayPal
Globally there are almost 650,000 companies that accept PayPal as a payment method. When compared to its closest competitor, Stripe, PayPal works with almost three times the amount of online vendors. This is well over half of the world’s companies that use online payments.
Of these, the highest market share by far belongs to the US. Around 375,000 US online companies accept PayPal, which is around 58% of the total. The second largest market is the UK with just over 45,000 companies. While this is only around 7% of the total, the population of the US is around five times that of the UK, and the US has considerably more online retailers and other companies.
UK users trust PayPal over banks to deliver a ‘super app’
In 2021 PayPal announced its intention to create a so-called ‘super app’, a service intended to bring together disparate aspects of online activity under one roof. Such an app would combine online transactions, banking, bill payments, social media and more in a single interface. A survey carried out the following year revealed that UK respondents showed the most interest in a super app.
The same study also showed that UK users have a high level of trust in PayPal as a company. While those surveyed in other countries indicated that they would have the most faith in a bank to deliver a super app, UK respondents listed PayPal as their preferred provider for this service.
Super apps are already widely used in various regions around the world, including China, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. In the US and European markets, there is still a gap for a super app, and PayPal is hoping to be the first to make a successful launch.