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Related: Cheatin’ Hearts Online Cost Businesses M 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.
To survive, they’ll need a novel marketing strategy and a focus on untapped potential daters—sites targeting niche markets have higher rates of membership growth, according to the report.
The Internet has revolutionized this business and has brought affordable and convenient matchmaking to America’s 124 million singles, via Match.com, Plenty of Fish, e Harmony, and other popular services. Dating website revenues are expected to grow only moderately this year as the U. market is saturated with 1,500 sites and everyone is chasing the same traffic. Venture capital funding continues, as new start-ups still believe they can make it big.
The nation’s 1,600 matchmakers and 400 dating coaches are posting moderate growth, but off-line chains and radio datelines continue to slide.
The biggest web dating companies have a huge lead over the competition—two control more than 40 percent of the market.
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.
This market is a now a .5 billion business in the U.
S., with online dating services soaring in popularity since 2001 and representing 70% of the market’s value.
Langston says that for e Harmony, that’s meant users are checking in more often—six to twelve times a day instead of two or three.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.Of course there are sites aimed at specific religious or ethnic groups, but there are also those who aim to match couples with very specific interests.The Passion Network, for example, is a small empire of 250 dating hubs like bronypassions.com, for fans of the My Little Pony TV series; for mustache mavens; and even zombiepassions.com, for those obsessed with the walking dead.
Target marketing, changing demographics, and decreasing stigma about online dating are continually bringing new users to fore.