Growth of online dating industry
Even as the user base soars, it’s not clear that sites’ algorithms for pairing couples are improving their chances of staying together long term.
Leader Inter Active Corp (IAC) owns at least 30 sites, including and OKCupid, followed by e Harmony.com, which targets a slightly older demographic. Of 19,000 couples married between 20, more than a third met through an online dating site, according to a study in last May’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Thanks to the growth of such sites, the industry has expanded at 3.5 percent a year since 2008--right through the recession--to become a $2.1 billion powerhouse.Analysts expect the acceleration to continue over the next five years.In 1970, just 28 percent of American adults were single; today, the share is 47 percent, according to the Census Bureau.That means an expanding target market, and it doesn’t include the unknown number of married people trolling the sites.Last December, more than 1 in 10 American adults visited dating sites, spending more than an hour a day there on average, according to Market research company Nielsen.
(The 1.8 million visitors to OKCupid topped the field for time spent, at 3 hours a day.) Changing demographics are a big part of what’s inflating the industry.
That’s not only because of their size but because their Internet use is expanding and they’re more likely to be single than in the past: more than a third of adults that age are unmarried, according to the Census.
Emerging sites appealing to them include Senior People Meet.com, Our Time.com, Silver
Target marketing, changing demographics, and decreasing stigma about online dating are continually bringing new users to fore.
That growth is already beginning to attract investors.
Related: Cheatin’ Hearts Online Cost Businesses $17M a Day That means making a dent as a new player will be harder than ever since many will have to build a database of users from scratch, says IBISWorld analyst Jeremy Edwards.