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Match tops sales estimates as Tinder, Hinge keep sparks flying

Photo illustration of dating app Tinder shown on an Apple iPhone

(Reuters) - Match Group Inc beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter revenue on Tuesday as demand for its dating apps Tinder, Hinge and Pairs jumped in regions where COVID-19 cases have declined.

The pandemic-induced lockdowns forced people to stay indoors, but Match has been able to keep users interested in its services by adding a slew of new features to boost interaction in the new setting.

Match's flagship app Tinder, with 66 million average monthly active users, dominated the dating market worldwide with 53.8% of the market share during the quarter, according to analytics firm Apptopia.

"In markets like Japan where impact from the pandemic has been relatively muted, we have continued to see strong first-time subscriber growth," the company said in a letter to shareholders.

Match said Japan had become its second-highest grossing market behind the United States, with revenue in the Asian country surging more than 600% in the past five 5 years on the success of Pairs.

The company also pointed to an improvement in first-time subscriber trends in markets such as India, where COVID-19 infections have fallen considerably.

Average subscribers on Match's apps increased about 12% to 10.9 million in the quarter ended Dec.31.

The company's total revenue rose 19% to $651.4 million, beating analysts' estimates of $648.8 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net earnings attributable to Match shareholders rose to $140.6 million, or 48 cents per share, from $100.4 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta and Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)