Match Group's (MTCH 0.17%) investors lost ground to the market this week as shares fell 9% through Thursday trading even as the wider market rose 0.5%, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The decline added to a tough year for owners of the online dating service, whose stock is down nearly 50% so far in 2022.
A poorly received earnings report sparked the slump.
Match said on Tuesday that revenue grew 12% for the second quarter (19% after accounting for currency exchange rates). That boost was supported by continued growth in the user base across dating apps including Tinder, Match, and Hinge. But revenue per user declined in a few of these key brands, and Wall Street was expecting to see more-robust growth.
Match is also facing some new financial pressures, with management predicting that the adjusted operating profit margin will fall to 32% of sales next quarter, compared to 36% in the second quarter. Executives are cutting costs in areas like marketing and hiring, but it will take some time before these changes start lifting earnings.
The tech company predicted slow growth for the second half of 2022, including essentially flat sales in the third quarter. That sluggish outlook is partly due to weaker demand across the dating app industry, but also tied to stumbles in Match's core Tinder service. That app underperformed expectations and is seeing a shake-up in its management team, executives said in a letter to shareholders. "We need to do more to excite our user base," CEO Bernard Kim said.
Investors will be watching for signs over the next few quarters that this shift is helping the Tinder app return to faster monetization growth. In the meantime, the stock might stay pressured as sales growth continues to slow through 2022.