What happened

Shares of Sea Limited (SE 1.28%) dropped by 19.1% in June, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The latest drop means that shares of the e-commerce and gaming company have plunged by 70.1% year to date.

Boy playing multi-player online game.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Sea's shares had declined in line with the continued fall in the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 index. Year to date, the Nasdaq has fallen close to 30% while the bellwether S&P 500 has fallen by 20.2%, putting both indices firmly in a bear market. It didn't help that Sea Limited also released a downbeat set of earnings for its 2022 first quarter.

Its digital entertainment division, led by Garena, witnessed the continued quarter-over-quarter decline in users for a second straight quarter. Quarterly paying users fell by 20.4% quarter over quarter to 61.4 million and was down 23% year over year from 79.8 million. Both quarterly active and paying users peaked in the third quarter of 2021 and have been on a downtrend since. 

The company's e-commerce segment, Shopee, also saw gross orders and gross merchandise value (GMV) slip quarter over quarter after enjoying continuous quarterly growth. Gross orders dipped from 2 billion to 1.9 billion in Q1 2022 while GMV declined from $18.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022 to $17.4 billion in Q1 2022. Both gross orders and GMV were, however, still up by 71% and 39% year over year, respectively. 

To make matters worse, Shopee announced that it will lay off some employees for its food delivery and online payment teams in Southeast Asia. In addition, the e-commerce division is also reducing its staff count in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Spain. Shopee is also closing its pilot in Spain after pulling out from France and India in the past year, leading investors to believe that the company may have expanded too quickly. The layoffs also compounded worries that an economic slowdown is imminent and that the company needs to right-size its staff strength to cope.

Now what

Investors will be closely scrutinizing Sea Limited's next quarterly earnings to see if the downtrend continues for both Garena and Shopee. While the company has significant clout in the Southeast Asian region due to its rapid expansion in the last couple of years, it now faces the prospect of a major slowdown in many of the markets in which it operates. It may take a while before the company can reignite growth again, and investors should also adjust their expectations accordingly.