The Clearing House - Corporate Changes in Payment Practices - September 2023

New Bumble CEO Wants to Personalize Subscriptions to Reach Gen Z Singles

Bumble, dating app, subscriptions, subscription commerce

In an effort to get Generation Z consumers paying for its dating app, Bumble is rolling out subscription plans that are shorter-term and more personalized.

On a call with analysts Tuesday (Nov. 7) discussing its third-quarter 2023 financial results, Whitney Wolfe Herd, the company’s founder and CEO (who will soon transition to executive chair) noted that the company’s two new subscription tiers, Premium Plus and a base tier, will target “high-intent, serious dating customers and Gen Z users.”

While the Premium Plus plan involves a range of expanded benefits, including offline experiences, the lower tier is intended to enable “younger members” to “express their personalities on a deeper level and find connection in fun and social ways,” according to Herd.

In fact, Herd noted, even within Gen Z, there are noticeable differences in behaviors, with the youngest consumers’ social media engagement distinct form that of older members of their generation.    

“This [base tier] is really focused on the different types of engagements and the more personalized experience that particularly Gen Z enjoys. So, the way … 18- to 22-year-olds are looking to express themselves is actually quite different than the older cohorts, even their peers just a few years older,” Herd said.

Another of the ways that Bumble is targeting its subscription offerings to these young consumers is by offering shorter-term plans. Herd highlighted on the call the launch of weekly subscriptions, part of a dating app industry-wide shift.

Indeed, Gen Z consumers tend to seek lower-commitment options, per PYMNTS Intelligence’s study “The Subscription Commerce Readiness Report: The Loyalty Factor,” created in collaboration with The study, which draws from a census-balanced survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers, found that a plurality of Gen Z subscribers are “short-timers,” those who subscribe for just 14 months on average.

To that point, Bumble competitor Match Group, parent company of Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid, Match and other popular dating services, shared in its earnings call last week that it has found that younger consumers are willing to pay slightly more per week in exchange for lower-commitment plans.  

“We’ve learned from launching weekly subscriptions, that the younger generations Tinder primarily serves have more of an affinity to … shorter-term duration products that we had initially anticipated,” Chief Executive Officer Bernard Kim noted.

Match Group President and Chief Financial Officer Gary Swidler added that younger generations are “comfortable at the higher-priced, but lower duration packages.”

Overall, younger consumers hugely over-index when it comes to dating app usage, according to the “The Love and Social Media Edition” of the PYMNTS Intelligence ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report series, which explores the role of digital technologies in dating. The study found that the majority of Gen Z consumers (57%) use dating sites and apps, as do nearly half (48%) of millennials, a share that is three times as large as the population-wide average (16%). 

In the quarter, Bumble’s paying user base grew by 25% year over year (and 6% quarter over quarter), even as average revenue per paid user fell by 2% year over year.