After recommending Match Group for years, Deutsche Bank has finally decided to "swipe left" on the online dating platform, downgrading the stock to a hold rating.
Analyst Kunal Madhukar told clients in a note published Tuesday that he projects a significant slowdown in subscriber growth in Match's dating app Tinder over the next 12 months. While the app is popular across the U.S. and Western Europe — and is still being adopted globally — Deutsche Bank believes "it could take time and a lot of effort to convert the potential addressable universe into subscribers."
Tinder is a location-based social search app that lets users signal their interest in meeting others on the app by swiping left or right on profiles they view on their phones, a rejection and approval, respectively.
"There still is a lot of stigma associated with online dating in many countries outside of North America and Western Europe and the stigma associated with casual relationships could be even higher," Madhukar wrote. Tinder's other challenge is that its user base "is currently skewed disproportionately towards males in a number of countries."
Pricing could also prove problematic for Match, the analyst said, since the majority of the current subscribers (and future ones) live outside of the U.S. If the pricing for Tinder internationally is at a significant discount to the pricing in the U.S., sales growth could lag subscriber growth. Higher prices could also affect one of the key appeals of Tinder, its large and diverse pool of potential partners.