Nov 10, 2023 - Business

Dating apps are on the rocks with Wall Street

Illustration of a bull wearing a nose ring with a broken heart.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

It's been a rough year for dating apps.

Why it matters: The stock prices of the big public dating app companies have plunged this year, as online dating lost its luster with Generation Z.

  • Zoomers, it turns out, like meeting IRL.
  • The dating app market is also saturated, meaning there are just so many of them, and individual apps aren't seeing big user growth they once did, per a Morgan Stanley report earlier this year.

Driving the news: Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd announced this week she was stepping down.

  • The company's share price fell 8% after announcing that Slack CEO Lidiane Jones would take over at Bumble.

Details: Bumble's share price fell about 41% in the past year and about 68% from its IPO price in 2021.

Meanwhile, the share price of Match Group — parent company of apps including Tinder and Hinge fell about 40% in the past year.

  • In May, Tariq Shaukat stepped down as its president. Tinder's first woman chief executive, Renate Nyborg, exited last year after a short term that saw the company miss Wall Street expectations, the Guardian reported.

Companies have been turning to monetization via paid subscriptions, which can range in price depending on the customer’s commitment.

  • "With strong free offerings, online dating has needed to up its game with compelling features to convert more users to payers," per Morgan Stanley.

Between the lines: Revenue is still growing for both of these companies but at a slower pace.

  • Bumble saw a bump in paying users across its apps, according to third quarter data from this year, while Match Group saw an overall decrease — except on Hinge.
  • The companies did not provide data for non-paying users, which represent the bulk of downloads.

The big picture: College and graduate students have soured on online dating, a new Axios/Generation Lab survey found.

Yes, but: Apps still have plenty of believers.

  • Online dating grew in popularity during the pandemic, according to dating coach Jess Carbino, who used to work as a sociologist for Tinder and Bumble.
  • People broadly recognize "the real need and desire for companionship," she said.

Go deeper: Dating apps lose their luster with college students

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