Global digitalization makes online dating a familiar way to start a romantic relationship, and the market for such services is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Today, 300 million earthlings get to know each other on the Internet.
A dating story
While looking single women for dating, Darren from the American city of Durham, North Carolina, has tried a number of online dating services. Due to the shift work, which often happened on the weekend, his chances of meeting a girl at a party were approaching zero.
“I saw online dating as a growing industry and I thought that successful stories are bound to appear here,” Darren says. “I was right.”
He met his fellow countrywoman Liz on the Match service, popular in the USA. Having chatted online for a month, the young people decided to meet. The meeting was successful, and the couple began to call and chat more often, finding more and more common topics and hobbies. After the fifth meeting, both deleted their accounts from dating sites.
The age range of online dating services is now expanding. Thus, according to the forecasts of analysts from IBISWorld, an increase in the number of users from the baby boomer group born in 1943-1963 will contribute to the further growth of the online dating industry.
Meanwhile, technologically savvy young people are most actively getting to know the Internet. According to the Pew Research Center, among Americans aged 18 to 24, the proportion of users of such services increased from 10% in 2013 to 27% in 2015. Over the same period, in the older age category – from 55 to 64 years old – the share of online romance seekers doubled to 12%.
Dating as a business
With the number of online romantics, the profitability of the online dating industry is growing. Over the past five years, the annual revenue of the American Match Group, whose portfolio includes the popular Tinder, Match, OkCupid and 42 other brands, has almost doubled: from $ 713 million to $ 1.3 billion.
With the proliferation of smartphones, online dating services have appeared on mobile platforms. The applications Tinder, Badoo, Momo and others have already gathered an army of more than a million users and have taken leading positions in download ratings and profitability. 180 million people are registered in the Chinese Momo alone, while the Tinder, which is widespread in Europe and the USA, boasts an audience of 100 million people.
Such applications have a lot of opportunities for monetization: from a paid subscription model to partnership projects, says Sylvia Buerman, territorial director of the Central European and CIS region at the American analytical company App Annie. Already today, the average user of online dating services in the United States spends about $ 240 per year on them, according to the American research institute Statistic Brain. And the costs are rising.
So, according to App Annie, in 2017, residents of the United Kingdom spent about $ 63 million in the ten most popular applications – 70% more than a year earlier. As a result, online dating services ranked three out of ten in the UK ranking of non-gaming applications in terms of revenue.
As for the most recent estimations, analysts believe that the industry is worth around $3.2 billion, which is $0.7 billion more than in 2015, the forecasted growth rate is 5.1% per year. The so-called online dating marker encompasses around 1500 dating services. These 1500 services earn 70% of the total revenue of the industry, the rest is scattered among other numerous services across the world.