One would naturally expect that things like a global viral pandemic, social distancing, self-isolation and self-quarantine would not lend themselves well to the world of dating, online or otherwise.
Yet despite the coronavirus pandemic turning life as many know it on its proverbial head, Match Group (MTCH) - Get Report, owner of dating and hook-up apps including Tinder, OkCupid, Handy and Match.com, said it has actually seen an increase in conversation times across some of its properties.
In a letter about the impact of the pandemic filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, CEO Shar Dubey noted that while new subscriber growth has taken a hit, the length of users’ conversations has actually increased - particularly among those in the 30-and-under camp.
“This pandemic and resulting isolation has reminded us of the deep need for human connections, people’s adaptability and their willingness to use the tools and technology at hand to stay connected,” Dubey wrote. “Users across the world are turning to our products to maintain connections, reduce loneliness and boredom and check on people in faraway places.”
The letter noted that new subscriber growth in regions severely impacted by Covid-19 like Italy and Spain have seen “significant” declines. In the U.S., by contrast, where mandated shelter-in-place rules and quarantines were rolled out later and in different stages than in Europe and Asia, the impact “depends on the level of cases in the region and varies by brand.”
"For example, Tinder in New York state has seen low double-digit declines in new subscribers since the outbreak accelerated, but much of the rest of the country has held up much better,” Dubey said.
“As nearly every aspect of our lives is now conducted via video, singles are also becoming increasingly comfortable with video dates, and we are integrating video chat into our apps,” she wrote. “We have offered video chat features in the past and seen low usage, but we think this time user behavior is likely to change more permanently.”
Meantime, Jeffries analysts see “no recession in love,” raising their one-year price target on the stock to $74 from $65 based on expectations that the company’s first-quarter results will still touch the low end of the its guidance range, which sees revenue of between $545 million and $555 million.
Taking the exact opposite tact, analysts at Wedbush Securities on Wednesday lowered their price target to $68 from $75.
Shares of Match Group were down 3.73% at $63.58 in trading on Tuesday.