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In the 1990s, when the Internet was still new and exciting, online dating was introduced in the form of digital personals, posted on forums or websites, like the personal ads seen in the newspapers back in the day. Over time, dating sites started cropping up and improving the options. Today, there are thousands of sites for online dating, relationships, hookups, and so much more.
Of course, people have been using other means of connecting online to find romance over the years, too. In addition to forums and sites dedicated to dating, people have connected on chat rooms, website forums, and social media networks that aren’t necessarily focused on helping people find relationships. So, what does the future of online dating look like? While no one can say for sure, here are 20 statistics that will help you get a glimpse of what’s out there and what’s to come.
You wouldn’t know from its modest beginnings, but the online dating industry includes approximately 8,000 different sites and apps worldwide. It’s also estimated that there are about 1,000 new apps or sites launched each year, offering everything from traditional dating to niche dating, specialty dating apps, and more. While it’s great that there are a lot of options out there, it can also be overwhelming for someone new to the world of online dating. Plus, as with anything, quality is always more important than quantity.
More than $60 million of this comes from the U.S., with the rest divided among countries around the world. And like the number of sites, the revenue for this industry is continuing to grow, year after year. As more sites offer better subscription services and premium plans, more online daters will be willing to invest in their dating future. Although several sites and apps offer free online dating, sometimes, there are perks to spending a little money to meet your match(es).
Most people are willing to give online dating a go, and they’ll stick with it for a length of time. Their interaction frequency might drop off over time as the novelty wears off, but they will keep their accounts. This is generally more frequent with free accounts, though, and the 10% of paid subscription users will only last about 90 days before canceling their subscription. Some speculate that part of this could be due to people finding matches, but some don’t find the success they had hoped for, so it’s hard to get an accurate idea of what’s happening. In any case, it’s something to think about.
Tinder is one of the dating apps that are “mostly” free. You can match, message, and browse profiles without having to pay. However, you’ll be limited on things like being able to go back to a match after swiping or seeing who’s viewed your profile. Therefore, some people will choose to pay for a membership so that they can have access to all the features. It’s a mix of men and women, but it’s usually those looking for a serious relationship who are willing to invest in their online dating experience.
The Match Group, similar sites like Tinder, AdultFriendFinder, Ashleymadison, Match.com, Hinge, and Plenty of Fish, is ruling the online dating world and has seen tremendous growth in users and paid subscribers over the years. As the group has acquired more dating sites, its revenue has increased significantly, as well, allowing the company to take over a large portion of the online dating market.
Americans are eagerly jumping on the online dating bandwagon. It’s estimated that while there are around 54 million singles in the U.S., almost 50 million of them have tried online dating. To break it down further, U.S. users report that they are looking for:
Of course, regardless of their intentions, people are eating up online dating sites at an impressive rate. Worldwide users are also growing, but not nearly at the capacity of the U.S. market.
There are still more men using online dating than women, but the gap is closing as time goes on. Some experts say that this is because many women still worry about being harassed or inappropriately contacted online, but that may not always be the case. Regardless, the trend has changed significantly since the early days of online dating. Some sites still have a high male-to-female ratio, but they should disclose that so that you’re prepared for what you’re getting into.
In the average year, a single customer will spend around $243 on their online dating subscriptions and memberships. Of course, that all depends on which sites you join and what their membership fees are like. For example, Tinder Plus is $9.99 per month, but eHarmony costs $21.95 per month if you get a 12-month subscription, so there’s a lot of price variance to consider. Nonetheless, people are very willing to spend money on online dating services if they feel that the investment is worthwhile—and that’s only going to continue to become common in the future.
After all, think about how much is invested in going out and meeting people the “traditional” way. Clothes, transportation, food, drinks, etc.—it all adds up quickly. You might spend upwards of $200 in a single month going out and dating. If that’s all you’re spending in an entire year, that’s not a bad investment at all.
Despite how it appeared to have a “hookup” nature at first glance, Tinder has become one of the leading apps people choose for serious dating and relationships. Several people have taken into making sure that their profiles explicitly state that they are “not into hookups” or “LTR oriented” to circumvent unwanted matches in the first place. Tinder, even when used as a free app, remains one of the leading online dating platforms for all types of users, but some are surprised to learn just how many people are here looking for something serious.
This surprises a lot of people, but it’s true. Online dating (as well as a probable change in the collective mindset of humanity) has started to show just how much people prefer to have common interests with someone than for them to be super-attractive. Still, 49% of daters say that someone’s appearance is the most important factor, so make sure that you fill out your profile completely and have updated, attractive pictures (that actually reflect what you look like) posted.
People lie for various reasons. Some are trying to attract a certain type of match, or perhaps feel that they “deserve” a better station than the one that they have in life. It’s a fact that everyone lies here and there, and if you’re dating online, make sure that you take profiles with a grain of salt. After all, talking to someone, even on a messenger app, will give you more insight than anything they could write up on their own. Watch out for these people and try to avoid them altogether. Honesty is an important characteristic and it’s not one you should compromise.
That’s right—not everyone is just copying the latest trend or trying to be their own creative Casanova. A growing number of people are asking their friends and family to help them craft the perfect online dating profile. Something even more shocking? Some people actually pay someone else to help them perfect their online dating profile(s) and bio(s). There’s no law that says you have to do it on your own, of course, but it’s important to make sure that people are being authentic, even when they get help with their profiles.
To some, this means that people are cheating and lying. While that may often be the case, there may also be those out there who are polyamorous or who are non-monogamous searching for new partners and experiences. Not only that, but a lot of people (and couples) use online dating profiles to find friends—after all, how else do adults meet each other? It’s just not as organic as it used to be. However, you’ll still want to watch out for the attached ones who shouldn’t be online dating because you don’t want to get involved with that.
Online dating can take just a few days before you meet someone, or it could be a matter of weeks, or even months before there’s any kind of physical encounter. Regardless, it’s becoming more acceptable and commonplace for women to hook up or have sex with their date the first time that they get together. And yes, this includes the good old “Netflix and chill” dates, too.
More and more people are accepting online dating as a way to meet people. As such, more people are meeting locally and actually physically meeting the people that they find online. 66% of all people using online dating have had a physical interaction or date with someone they met through online dating or social networking sites.
This number is relatively low to some, but if you consider that it was basically non-existent even two decades ago, it’s an impressive jump. Online dating has enhanced the world for several people, allowing them to connect with the right people, regardless of location, and helping create more lasting connections. Most of the people using online dating are looking for something long-term, but it’s not always easy to come by.
Everyone worries about fake profiles and “bots” that can create spam accounts on dating websites. That’s a valid concern, too, since several sites spend hours every day deleting dozens, if not hundreds, of fake and spam profiles. Sometimes, you can tell when someone’s profile is fake (such as if the resolution on their photos seems off like they were copied from somewhere else) and sometimes it’s nearly impossible because the bots and spammers have gotten so good at what they do. In any case, you’ll want to use caution when you’re first talking to people and getting to know them to ensure they’re not trying to scam you or just mess with your head.
That’s why you need to pay attention to fake and spam profiles. They love preying on unsuspecting people in the form of online dating scams and it could cost you dearly. The scams happen all too often to those people who aren’t prepared for them and have easily cost people near $50 million, if not more by this point. Never send someone money over the Internet if you don’t know them, no matter what kind of story they have to tell.
Part of the reason that some people don’t like online dating is that they feel like they’re constantly going to be harassed or bothered by rude or unpleasant people. Even though only ¼ of online daters report that they’ve been contacted by someone inappropriately, the fact of the matter is that it happens more often on some sites than others. For example, while people usually start with a greeting on sites like Tinder, it’s not uncommon on apps like Scruff or Grindr for men to lead with an NSFW photo — and that’s not welcome by everyone.
Of course, it’s not just because of the pandemic—the future of dating is still evolving. No doubt, having access to online dating and socializing resources during the pandemic did help people continue to live with some sense of “normalcy,” but it wasn’t created as an end to that means. The pandemic changed the way that people interact, and because it had such an impact on online dating (and vice versa), the stigma is slowly changing.
Online dating is here to stay. It may continue to change and evolve in different ways over time. However, from what we’ve seen, people enjoy online dating and it’s only going to get better as long as the technology is available. Online dating opens users up to a global network where they’ll have more selection, which leads to better odds of finding “the one” (or anything else they may be seeking).