Online dating is becoming more and more popular each year. In fact, it has become one of the most popular ways to meet new people.
According to a recent study from Pewresearch, over 30% of Americans have tried online dating at some point in their lives. So, what is driving this growth? And where is the industry headed?
Online Dating Industry Market Size
The online dating industry was valued at 3.7 billion USD in 2021 according to GrandViewResearch. It's expected to have an annual growth rate of 6.9% from 2022 - 2028. Growth is driven primarily by millennials, who represent nearly half of the market. Other key drivers include the rise in smartphone usage and increased use of mobile apps.
Millennials are driving the growth of online dating. They tend to be early adopters of technology and social media platforms, and they prefer to date within their geographic area. As a result, the majority of online daters live in urban areas. In addition, many people report that they are looking for long-term relationships rather than casual encounters.
Online Dating Industry's Major Players
Match Group owns over half of what we call "online dating." They own OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Tinder, Bumble, Zoosk, Match, and even some smaller players like Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel. But how do you think those sites work? How much does it cost to use them? And why aren't you aware of all of them? We're here to help.
We'll start with the basics. What exactly is an online dating site? Most people assume that dating sites are just places where people go to meet others. While that's true, most of them have a lot more going on than that.
Some sites focus on one particular niche - like Christian singles or Asian women looking for white men. Others are broad spectrum, allowing anyone to sign up and look for whatever they want. Still others cater to specific groups, like seniors or LGBT people.
Each site has its own unique set of features. Some let you see photos of potential matches without having to pay anything. Others offer paid memberships that give you access to additional features. Some require you to answer questions about yourself. Others ask you to fill out detailed profiles. Some sites make money off of advertising while others rely on subscriptions.
eharmony is an online dating website launched in 2000. It is based in Los Angeles, California and was founded by clinical psychologist Neil Clark Warren. The company employs over 750 people and has 26 million registered users. eharmony's stated mission is to "strengthen relationships" and it focuses on marriage-minded individuals.
The algorithm used by the site matches people based on 29 "dimensions of compatibility". These include emotional temperament, social style, values, beliefs, and key experiences.
eharmony is a paid service; users can sign up for free, but must pay to communicate with other members. The company also offers a premium service, eharmony Plus, which gives users access to additional features, such as a deeper analysis of their personality traits and daily phone call coaching from a relationship expert.
Increased Consolidation and Domination by Large Players
The number of online dating platforms has dropped dramatically over the past few years. In 2017, there were about 2,500 active dating sites. By 2018, that number had fallen to just 1,800 active sites. And now, it looks like we're seeing another round of consolidation. Match Group, the parent company of OkCupid and Tinder, has also bought PlentyOfFish for $575 million.
A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that most people use one app for dating, while others use multiple apps. For example, 44% of millennials say they use both OK Cupid and Tinder, according to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. A whopping 41% of Gen Zers admit to using both Hinge and Grindr.
And those numbers aren't even close to being accurate. Dating site data scientist Andrew Chen analyzed the usage patterns of thousands of singles across dozens of popular dating apps and discovered that only 3% of people actually used all four apps he studied. He says there's no way anyone could possibly know how many people are using each individual app because "there's no incentive for developers to make sure their data is complete."
So why are so many dating apps disappearing? Well, the market is getting saturated. Dating apps are expensive to develop, and they take a lot of money to maintain. Plus, some companies are simply too big to fail. If you look at the Fortune 500 list, you'll see that almost every single major tech company is represented.
But niche dating apps are having trouble keeping up. They're trying to compete with the likes of Facebook and Instagram, which are free and offer tons of features. So what happens when you try to charge for something that's already free? You lose out on revenue.
Plus, niche dating apps tend to focus on specific demographics. So if you want to date someone who lives in New York City, you won't find much success on a site that caters to people looking for love in rural areas.
The Rise of Dating Apps
Tinder is an example of how technology can disrupt an industry. While there are many different online dating platforms available, most are owned and operated by just one company. In fact, dating apps are increasingly becoming a way of life for many people.
In the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people using dating apps. According to a report from Pew Research Center, the number of adults who use online dating sites or apps has nearly tripled since 2013.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to this trend, including the proliferation of smartphones and the rise of social media. Dating apps make it easy for users to connect with potential partners, and they provide a platform for users to share photos, experiences, and interests. In addition, many dating apps offer premium features that allow users to filter their search results or access additional resources.
As a result, dating apps have become one of the most popular ways for people to meet potential partners.
Where Is Online Dating Headed?
One trend that is becoming more and more common is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to help people find a partner. AI can be used to analyze data from dating profiles and suggest potential matches. For example, a company called Dating.ai allows users to upload photos of themselves and receive recommendations for other users who they might be compatible with.
Another trend is the move away from traditional dating websites to mobile apps. Tinder, one of the most popular dating apps, has been downloaded over 340 million times. And it's not just Millennials who are using dating apps - according to a recent survey, there are now more adults aged over 50 using them than adults aged under 30.
So what does the future hold for online dating? It seems likely that AI will play an increasingly important role in helping people find partners. And with more and more people using mobile phones to access the internet, we can expect to see even more dating apps being developed in the future.