In its first results report since going public, the daily deals company founded by music major Andrew Mason said it recorded higher taxes overseas that resulted in a net loss, although Wall Street had on average bet on a small profit.
Worldwide active users - those who bought a deals coupon, or groupon, within the past 12 months - rose 20 percent quarter on quarter to over 33 million at the end of December, the company said.
That marked a 275 percent jump from the same period a year earlier, but analysts said it was lower than expected, while others pointed to a lacklustre revenue forecast for the first quarter that suggested flat growth.
That suggests there are fewer newer customers, consumer fatigue and the impact from lower marketing spending, said Sameet Sinha, an analyst at B Riley. That means not enough people are buying groupons
Groupon, unveiling its first results as a public company, said its fourth-quarter net loss attributable to common stockholders was $42.7 million (26.9 million pounds), or 8 cents a share. That compares with a loss of $378.6 million, or $1.08 a share, a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, Groupon reported a fourth-quarter loss of 2 cents a share. Revenue was $506.5 million, up 194 percent from the final quarter of 2010.
Groupon was expected to make 3 cents a share profit on revenue of $475 million in the fourth quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The Chicago-based company's shares slumped about 13 percent to $21.35 in after-hours trading following the results.
On Wednesday, Groupon forecast revenue of $510 million to $550 million in the first quarter of 2012, a slight increase from 2011's fourth quarter.
There was some concern that the guidance looks flattish, sequentially, said Raymond James' Aaron Kessler. Maybe investors are looking for a little bit more growth on a sequential basis.
(Reporting By Gerry Shih in San Francisco, Edwin Chan in Los Angeles; editing by Bernard Orr, Tim Dobbyn and Andre Grenon)