In the past two decades, online dating has become a new norm for people all around the world. Using dating apps on smartphones has become one of the most common ways of finding soulmates or casual hookups. What was once looked at by the public as a lonely and desperate endeavor is now becoming more mainstream. Since this industry has expanded, there have been many new platforms designed with the same intention of creating relationships. This multi-million dollar industry is revolutionizing the way that we find new people.
In the past year, revenue from online dating services in the U.S. went over $973 million. This figure is likely to pass $1.1 billion by 2024. Along with this, the number of people using these platforms is only going to go up. What people are paying for when they purchase premium services on these dating apps is features that aren’t normally available to people using them for free. Users with these features can get profile visibility boosts as well as notifications on who is viewing their page. These are the kinds of features that people want when they’re paying for a service; whether these features actually improve one’s odds of finding a partner is debatable. “According to a 2019 study, almost half of U.S. online users have met or know someone who has met a romantic partner via a dating website or app. By the end of that year, around 77 percent of adult online users reported having gone on a date with someone they had met online”.
I took the time to talk to my friend Abby Rineer on FaceTime about how she met her boyfriend on Tinder, which is currently the most commonly used application for dating in the U.S. “I was very nervous to meet Michael, but I knew we were compatible after a few hours together on the first date. He was kind, funny, and most importantly, he didn’t just talk about himself. Michael asked me questions about my life and had a genuine interest to get to know me better. I find it funny that I probably never would have met him if it wasn’t for a smartphone app.” This is one of millions of different cases of people who have found their significant other through an online dating service. What needs to be considered is how life changing these apps can be for people who struggle with first dates or even relationships in general. These apps give users the opportunity to chat first and get to know each other before going out together. To a lot of people, the first ice breaker can be the hardest part about trying to get to know someone. “Previous Pew Research Center studies about online dating indicate that the share of Americans who have used these platforms – as well as the share who have found a spouse or partner through them – has risen over time”.
The first graph above displays the most popular online dating apps in the U.S. and how many users have accounts on each platform. You’ll notice that Tinder has a staggering 7+ million, which is far more than what any of the other apps have. There’s a simple reason for this, and it’s platform recognition. College students and high school kids have deemed Tinder to be the most socially acceptable dating app, and usually the younger generation determines what’s “cool” and what isn’t. This is the same principle that is applied to other industries. If the younger people in the world like your product or service, capitalize on it. Keep improving and building on what has already been built. “With its basis in physical proximity, it dispenses with the complex algorithms utilised by other mobile dating apps and simply reduces it to the simplest level that you might find in real life: physical attraction. For that reason, Tinder has gained a reputation as a ‘hook-up app’ – though with its entrenchment in the world of modern dating, it’s not uncommon for Tinder users to be looking for a deeper connection”.
My own sister Kathryn met her fiance Bradley through an online dating app. I sat her down to show her these infographics as well as my own findings about the topic; she wasn’t exactly shocked by the data. “It doesn’t surprise me at all that the age groups of 16 – 24 and 25 – 34 take up nearly 90% of the users. I feel like there’s a certain stigma that the older generation has about online dating while younger people are more open to the idea. I’m not sure why this is the case, maybe it has something to do with them thinking of a smartphone as a less genuine way of finding someone”. She brought up an interesting point in this quote that I think deserves consideration for anyone reading: Is matching with somebody on a dating app less genuine than meeting them for the first time in real life with no other aide?
Regardless, it’s safe to say that online dating has completely revolutionized the way that we meet new people in the modern era. Whether you’re simply looking for a quick hookup or something more serious, it is an industry that grows more powerful every day as more people continue to open up to this method of dating. The first message to someone can often be the most intimidating part of getting to know a person. However these apps and services have made it easier than ever to meet new individuals.