By Steven Scheer
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel's Wix.com on Wednesday forecast more than $14 billion in revenue from existing customers over the next 10 years, saying the COVID crisis has led to more small businesses using its services to build and operate websites.
After higher-than-expected first-quarter revenue, Wix also slightly raised its 2021 outlook.
"The growth that we experienced last year is actually continuing this year," Wix Chief Financial Officer Lior Shemesh told Reuters. Due to the coronavirus, "merchants changed their behaviour. We are not going to go back."
He said the projection of $14 billion in revenue stems from Wix's large marketing campaigns which currently eat into its profit but help to grow its market share. Revenue would be even higher from future customers, Shemesh said.
"Marketing is for future" customers, he added.
As of this quarter, Wix has stopped publishing the amount of users it has, but in February, it had 200 million worldwide, with 5.5 million premium customers at the end of 2020.
The company, which operates on a "freemium" model, noted conversions from free to paid services are growing as Wix adds more tools to help firms manage their business in the wake of acquisitions.
Wix -- whose Nasdaq listed shares are up 16% so far this year -- raised its outlook for 2021 and expects revenue of $1.28-$1.29 billion for annual growth of 29-30% versus an estimate of $1.272-$1.286 billion made in February.
"While businesses increasingly require online commerce capabilities, we believe our growth will continue throughout the year," the company said.
In the first quarter, it lost 54 cents per share excluding one-time items versus a loss of 1 cent per share a year earlier as financial, research and development and other expenses rose.
Revenue grew 41% to $304.1 million.
Analysts had forecast a loss of 66 cents per share on revenue of $295.2 million, I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv showed.
For the second quarter, Wix projects revenue of $308-$312 million, up 30-32% from last year. Analysts are forecasting Wix will post revenue of $312.3 million in the April-June period.
(Reporting by Steven Scheer; editing by Jason Neely and Bernadette Baum)