I have to say, my personal experience with dating apps is somewhat limited. I only began using Tinder early last year as a means of meeting new people and potentially someone interesting. Emphasis on the word ‘potentially’.
With the ongoing rise of online dating and mobile dating, it made me curious as to which apps were the most popular worldwide and what makes them an essential part of social interaction, particularly for Millennials.
While investigating the ‘digital dating’ phenomena, I discovered some very interesting facts…
- Approximately 91 million people worldwide are ACTIVELY using dating apps.
- It is already a $2 billion industry!
- 70% of users are between the ages of 16 and 34 years old.
- More than 60% of users are male.
- Approx 66% of online daters have meet up / gone on a date with someone they met on either a dating app or website.
- 22% of 25 - 34 year olds use an online dating site or mobile dating app.
Taking all of the above onboard, it is evident that public perception of online dating has dramatically shifted within the last 5 years or so. The number of young adults using such sites and apps has almost tripled since 2013 according to Pew Research Centre.
Gone are the days where the only active users are the likes of Slimy Simon, who scours every dating site with his fake profiles only to be greeted in person by Pervy Pete rather than the Sexy Susan he claimed to be online. Of course, you still get those types of profiles on every platform, however nowadays most are some-what genuine profiles of real people.
We know dating websites such as eHarmony and Match have been around for some time, but when did mobile dating apps start to take the limelight? According to Wikipedia, it kicked off around 2010 after iPhones became ‘the’ phone of choice. Then in 2012, the launch of ‘Tinder’ put mobile dating apps on the world map. Subsequently, there has been a number of dating apps developed; which caters for a certain demographic or just happens to be popular in specific places. For example, I found out recently that Lovoo is massively popular here in España, though I had never even heard of it until now. Being British-born it makes sense that the first app I used was Tinder, as it's popular in the UK.
So what exactly are they used for? Well from my experience so far there seems to be three brackets of uses for dating apps; Making New Friends, Casual Hook Ups and Seeking LTR. If you are a solo traveller or have recently relocated to a new country, it’s a fantastic way to get talking to other like minded people and arranging meet ups, trips etc. Apps like Tinder and Grindr are mostly known for their high ‘hook up’ factor.
As society becomes more open with sexuality, lifestyles and practises, we are seeing a dramatic rise in apps being used to meet new play partners or for one night stands. There’s also a number of users that are looking for something more romantic and long term. From what I have been told, people seeking this kind of commitment tend to use apps such as Match, that are more geared around long term relationships rather than Tinder.
Over time, dating websites and applications will continue to give market researchers much food for thought as we see socially accepted practises and public attitudes change towards dating as a whole.