Yes, folks, it seems the economy really is deteriorating. After weeks of downbeat economic forecasts—including from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos—Snap’s third-quarter earnings Thursday provided some specifics. Snap reported 6% revenue growth for the quarter—half the rate of the second quarter, and a fraction of the first-quarter growth rate. Snap had signaled how weak the third quarter was shaping up to be a few weeks ago, however. The real news was its expectation that fourth-quarter revenue would be flat. Snap’s stock promptly fell 27% in after-hours trading, while shares of other ad-dependent internet firms, such as Meta Platforms, Pinterest and Alphabet, also dropped.
Those companies don’t report their earnings until next week, but it’s hard not to see Snap’s outlook as reinforcing worries about Meta in particular. The owner of Facebook and Instagram has already suffered an even sharper slowdown in revenue growth than Snap from a similar confluence of factors (Apple’s targeting restrictions, TikTok competition and advertisers pulling back because of inflation and rising interest rates). Analysts are expecting Meta to report 5% lower third-quarter revenues next week and a 4% drop in the fourth quarter. After listening to Snap’s folks today, you have to wonder whether Meta’s fourth-quarter performance will be even worse.