Its been approximately 3 months since the great lockdown has taken effect. With everything coming to a standstill, Meghna has been trying to find new ways to overcome boredom. While cooking and social media are still her top priorities, there is just too much time to spend on these. So, 15 days into the lockdown she installed Tinder, Bumble and okCupid. The story is the same for youngsters all over the world. Online dating has hit a different nook in the heart of the youngsters.

While people were sceptic before the lockdown, they had options back then to opt for regular dating. But now there isn’t much of a choice. Is there?

I can barely go to the shop in front of my house. You think I will be going on a date to a restaurant serving coffee in a nice ambience?

Spoiler alert, all restaurants are closed.

Online dating has opened up whole new doors for people. You would think it is just youngsters. But no. People of all age, on the entire spectrum are using these apps.  

Why is online dating witnessing this surge?

Some can argue, that people are doing it simply out of loneliness. This is true, if we see the number of people under physical isolation. For others, the reason is boredom. This is also seen as a good time to improve connections and make more online friends. Previous conversations that were limited to greetings have grown longer. The cherry to the cake is the premium features made free by several dating companies like Tinder.

 Previously, Tinder users had to pay for a premium feature “Passport” that showed profiles in a different location other than theirs. Now, you can simply change your location and view profiles in New York, simply out of curiosity.

dating users by age

“A message for our community: In these trying times, while we all know we need to stay home, this doesn’t mean we have to be alone with our thoughts. Having someone to talk to can make a world of difference. And that’s why we decided that starting this week we’ll make our Passport feature, free to everyone, everywhere.”

 – Tinder in the first week of April

At this point, you would think that it is only the younger generation who is using the internet to the fullest. But you are wrong.

Although millennials constitute a large number of the users, people of all age gaps are using these dating apps to reconnect. The internet isn’t biased towards someone looking for a friend.

The exponential rise

On March 29, Tinder witnessed more than three billion “swipes” in a single day. This is an all time high for the company. In fact, the number of messages exchanged on it’s rival app Bumble increased by 26 percent over a two-week period in the United States.

According to Crunchbase, Tinder is ranked 354 among websites globally based on its 93,934,094 monthly web visitors.

The lockdown can be seen as a much-needed push for these sites. The surge is expected to last even after the lockdown gets over. This is because by the time things get normal, fears related to online dating like identity theft will be eased down.

Companies have taken measures to ensure that fake profiles are taken down as soon as possible. Users also have the option to verify their profile by allowing the website to click their pictures as deemed by it.

According to a study by Statista, the most popular online dating websites worldwide in March 2020, by average monthly visits (in millions) are as follows:

average monthly visits

As of March 2020, there are estimated 196 million people on dating apps. The biggest dating market is the United States and Europe. India too boasts of 56 million people on dating sites.

Estimated users of online dating websites from 2017-24
Estimated users of online dating websites from 2017-24

Users by gender on online dating websites in 2019
Users by gender on online dating websites in 2019, Source: Statista

When you see the above graph, it’s not hard to comprehend why sometimes you don’t even get one single match 😊. There is a huge gap in the number of males and females. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. Maybe your special one doesn’t use these apps.

Revenue from online dating

From a country where matches are made on astrological signs, and the spouse decided by family, to the concept of blind dates. India is the adobe to everybody. Its not much of a surprise that the online dating industry is worth $51 million today. It is expected to grow at a rate of 10.5% annually. In fact, the lockdown has made up for more than this year’s increase. People flocked in large numbers to online dating and matrimonial sites.

Websites like Shaadi.com and BharatMatrimony have even used the lockdown to promote marriage planning and date-planning.

At the current growth rate in India, the market will soon be worth $76 million by 2024.

In global comparison, most revenue is generated in the United States (US$798m in 2020).

Dating apps peg that the market will soon be valued at $100 million in the next five to eight years.

Total revenue from online dating all across the world
Total revenue from online dating all across the world, Source: Statista

Is Dating Changing

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes, because people now have a concept of e-coffee. No, because the yearn to in the physical presence of someone else is important to people.

People don’t want to talk to the same group of people repeatedly and want to break the monotonicity in their lives. Hopping on to dating apps is the easiest options.

Online dates are even more financially viable. You stay in your comfort zone, and yet, are able to explore more.

There are apps like Quarantine Chat, which are enabling strangers all over the world to chat. Innovations like these are likely to keep coming up to help people interact more.

While everyone still has doubts, it wouldn’t hurt to try. Would it?

Dating vs Matrimony

In 2019, in an amazing turn of events, a Google report stated that the number of search queries for online dating surpassed the searches for matrimony.

“Indian society has seen a rapid cultural evolution over the last decade, accelerated by the widespread access to technology, especially smartphones.”

 -Taru Kapoor, head of Tinder and Match Group, India

“Dating related searches in India are growing much faster than matrimony queries and non-metros were overtaking metros in online search across categories,” said the report on “Insights for Brands”.

It also revealed a 75% increase in the “Near Me” queries and a 100% growth in queries for co-working spaces.

The report is an indicator for companies in the market that it is sure to bloom in the coming times. Markets like India are hotspots and are crucial for dating apps to generate revenue.

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