Multimillion-dollar industry of online dating: this is what it does

In WNL’s latest broadcast of Stand van het Land, there is a lot of attention on (online) dating. Watch the broadcast here.

There are around 2.7 million bachelors in the Netherlands. A large part of them want to be in a relationship, but how do you find it these days? Of course, it still goes through work, friends and going out, but online dating has come a long way since the 2000s. In a 2003 survey by Statistics Netherlands, only 1.7% of cohabitants said they had taught each other via the Internet. In 2013, it had already risen to 13%. It is only expected to increase further because a very important development is missing from these numbers: the rise of Tinder.

For those who completely missed this: Tinder is a dating app where you swipe right on photos with a short text of people you like. If the other person does the same, you have a match and you can send each other messages. In the Netherlands, the app would now have around 1.5 million users. The app is said to have been downloaded 50 million times worldwide.

If you look at the surveys about online dating before Tinder, you saw that it was mainly people over 50 who found love via the Internet (37%). Many young people found online dating a bit boring. That has changed significantly with Tinder: according to this study, almost three quarters of (American) youth are on Tinder. Although you might be wondering what the motivations are: only a small proportion were really looking for a relationship, 44% did it for an ego boost.

big business?

But does it actually make some money? It’s starting to happen. Tinder is free and initially went for world domination and scale, as startups often do: people first, money later. Since 2015, however, there has been a payment service. According to the latest annual report, Tinder had 1.7 million paying users at the end of 2016. It brought in $175 million last year. Tinder’s parent company generated $1.1 billion in revenue from its dating business in 2016. And Tinder has become increasingly important in that.

The parent company is interesting though: It is the publicly traded American Match Group and has 45 different dating sites and apps. Not only Tinder, but also Dutch Lexa falls under this. But if you know that MatchGroup is active worldwide and has 59 million active monthly users (5.5 million paying), then the 1.1 billion is actually a little disappointing, even if the revenue was up by 23%.

There is also a paradox in the business model: on the one hand, it is important to have scale, so many users. But if these users are there, there is a threat that there will be a lot of ‘junk’ between them. Fake profiles, trolls or people with less than loving intentions. (In any case, you have to be careful with non-serious dating sites, it’s a completely different story, as even AFM warned about, here and here. The subscription model also has disadvantages: As soon as you find someone, you drop out and if you still If you don’t have found someone, you can also drop out.It is interesting to see in the overview below that it is mainly men who pay for Tinder, while (American) women choose the traditional dating sites.

dating sites

The advent of apps has given these dating sites a big blow. De Konink van E-matching is said to have lost around 30% of its revenue in our program. The market for dating sites in the Netherlands is not that big anyway. Based on interviews with experts and the analysis of media spending, we arrived at an estimate of between 25 and 45 million euros.

It is primarily the big players with many (real) users who survive. You also see that many media companies have bought dating sites. Not a bad idea in itself as 30 to 40% of budgets go to ads. You must have enough people coming to your site. Incidentally, this is mainly published in January and February, because it seems that many people have good intentions to find a new love.

Now Tinder announced last week that it would also come with a desktop version, and the traditional sites all have an app as well. So these two worlds also overlap more and more.

The Dutch top 5 dating sites measured by the number of visitors per month looks like this:

1 lexa.nl (Match Group) 426,000

2 relationplanet.nl (TMG) 245,000

3 paiq.nl (independent) 190,000

4 e-matching.nl (independent) 167,000

5 pepper.nl (formerly RTL, now MatchMedia) 86,000

Top 5 apps

1 Tinder 1.5 million

2 hapn 480,000

3 Badoo?

4 Lexa?

5 Pepper / hot or not?

By: Editor

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