Bumble user growth slows as COVID-19 chokes spending

(Reuters) – Bumble Inc forecast current-quarter revenue above estimates on Wednesday, but fresh COVID-19 outbreaks in some markets hit user growth, sending its shares down over 6% in extended trading.

Total paying users fell 2% from the previous quarter to 2.9 million and revenue growth also slowed sequentially as the global Delta variant surge prompted renewed lockdowns, curtailing consumer spending on dating app subscriptions and in-app purchases.

Bumble’s other dating app, Badoo, which is mostly used by the urban middle class segment, also saw user growth affected by the economic pressures brought on by the health crisis.

“While many key markets such as Russia and Brazil have shown strong growth in both paying users and user revenue, other markets like France and Italy have lagged,” Chief Executive Officer Whitney Herd said on Badoo in a post-earnings call.

Despite the slowdown, Texas-based Bumble raised its full-year revenue forecast and said it remained well-positioned for the upcoming quarter. That was in contrast to rival Match Group , which projected fourth-quarter revenue below estimates as COVID-19 hit the Tinder owner’s business in Asia.

Bumble expects current-quarter revenue between $208 million and $211 million, above analysts’ estimates of $206.0 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Total revenue was $200.5 million in the third quarter, compared with estimates of $198.8 million.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta, Nilanjana Basu and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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