Summary of our market study

The global online dating market has witnessed strong growth, driven by an increase in single populations and internet usage worldwide. In 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry saw a surge in user activity, with platforms like Tinder reporting longer discussions on the app. The UK market, estimated at £138 million in 2020, showed a similar upswing, with a rapid annual growth rate of 7.1%. Market leader Match Group reported an 11% global increase in users in Q2 2020 and holds major brands such as Tinder, which dominated the UK market with nearly half the market share. Demographic trends depicted the 25-34 age group as the most active on dating platforms, with the numbers suggesting future growth in the over-45 segment. Challenges for the industry revolve around issues of user safety and security, with a marked increase in dating scams reported in the UK. Despite the proliferation of niche platforms catering to specific demographics, the market's dominance by a few large players like Match Group continues, and their success appears to be sustained by a "freemium" business model and the adaptation to mobile-centric user behaviors.

Navigating the Dynamic Waters of the UK Online Dating Sector: Trends and Figures

The online dating landscape in the United Kingdom is vibrant and expansive, marked by a surge in user engagement amid the cultural shift towards digital romance. The text reveals an industry catalyzed by an uptick in singlehood and practically buoyed by the proliferation of internet access. Among these digital romantic platforms, a key player emerges as Tinder, holding a sizeable share, with nearly half of market pie, while Badoo and EHarmony trail with substantial engagement. The growth in digital matchmaking services has been relentless, peaking notably during the tumultuous times of the Covid-19 pandemic when interpersonal connections became a click away. The yearning for companionship during lockdowns translated to longer conversations and burgeoning user numbers for platforms such as the Match Group's portfolio which includes Tinder, Positioning themselves as a digital haven, these platforms offered solace to individuals seeking both romantic and platonic connections.

An intriguing revelation points to an almost two-thirds majority of users being male. There seems to be a symbiotic relationship between the spread of smartphones and the swell of online dating activities, highlighting the intuitive linkage between technology adoption and social interaction. Although digital dating has become a vital thread in the UK's social fabric - being responsible for the inception of one in every eight relationships - it's the younger demographics who have seamlessly intertwined their love lives with online dating, compared to the older generations. When unpacking the business models within this digital romantic realm, we observe a diversity of revenue generation strategies primarily anchored in 'freemium' models, where the allure of enhanced features tempts users to loosen their purse strings.

Furthermore, the Match Group illustrates how subscription services are the reigning monetization modality, contributing to the overwhelming majority of their revenue. Despite the sizable abundance of companies within the online dating market, a few heavyweight entities dominate, leading to an intriguing market structure of smaller niche players jostling against titanic firms. However, this realm isn't without its shadows. Concerns over user security, from harassment to the menace of fraudulent profiles, plague the industry. A resounding alarm over dating scams has doubled in occurrences, a statistic likely underpinning the broader spectrum of internet-related crimes linked to dating.

Dominant Forces and Rising Stars in the UK Online Dating Arena

The UK online dating market is a dynamic and ever-evolving landscape, dominated by a few key players and brimming with innovative upstarts that constantly redefine how individuals connect and find love.

  • Match Group’s Diverse Portfolio Leading the Charge, At the forefront of the UK online dating scene is the Match Group, a conglomerate that boasts a collection of some of the most popular and widely used dating brands. Its flagship app, Tinder, has become synonymous with modern online dating and is known for its user-friendly "swipe" feature. But Tinder is just the tip of the iceberg, with other household names in its arsenal such as Match.com, OkCupid, and PlentyOfFish solidifying its status as the industry heavyweight. The group’s commitment to diversity is evident through tailored brands like Hinge, for more serious daters, and OurTime, catering to singles over 50.
  • Parship Elite Group: Focused Matchmaking for Relationship Seekers, Parship Elite Group is another major contender in the UK market. With a more focused approach than the broad swiping landscape, Parship uses a scientific method to help singles find long-term relationships. The company’s presence gives users who are serious about settling down an alternative to the casual dating scene.
  • Niche Market Innovators : The market is also characterized by a slew of niche players catering to specific demographics and interests. JDate offers Jewish singles a platform to connect with others sharing their faith and cultural values, while Muzmatch serves the same purpose for Muslim singles. Veggie Romance appeals to vegetarians in search of like-minded partners, underscoring the trend of looking for compatibility in lifestyle choices.
  • Bumble: Empowering Women in the Dating Dynamic, Bumble stands out with its women-first approach, giving female users the exclusive privilege to initiate conversations. This unique angle on the dating dynamic has not only resonated with users tired of traditional gender roles but has also established Bumble as a strong contender and a harbinger for empowering women within the tech space.
  • Emerging Players and Technological Innovations : New market entrants continue to emerge, pushing the boundaries of the online dating experience. For instance, Qemistry appeals to younger, social media-savvy users by forgoing traditional profiles for video-based interactions. The Inner Circle brings an elite dating experience to young professionals in London, adding exclusivity into the mix.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

A dating site is an online site designed to allow individuals to meet new people, usually for the purpose of establishing a romantic or non-romantic relationship. Online dating usually takes place through online websites or applications.

Today, there are several versions of online dating sites, depending on the customs and traditions of the location in which they develop. Indeed, the function and purpose of dating sites vary considerably from one country to another. However, administrative procedures remain relatively homogenous, involving the creation of a profile, where personal and private information is added, often serving as the “personal pitch” on which discussions are started. Most services offer digital messaging, while others offer additional services such as webcasting, online chat, telephone chat (VOIP) and forums.

The global market has been expanding rapidly in the last years. This can be explained by the rise in number of single people around the globe, especially in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Moreover, the surge in Internet penetration has been beneficial to the industry.

Similar to the world market, the United Kingdom has seen a large upswing in the number of users of online dating platforms. In 2019, Sky reported that one out of three relationships started online. This growth is driven by several factors including a larger number of single people, the increase of internet penetration, and product innovation.

In 2020, the most used application was Tinder (47%), followed by Badoo (32%) and EHarmony (27%). In other words, Tinder has almost half of the market share for online dating. It should also be noted that usage of online dating application is not mutually exclusive; in other words, users often have accounts in different applications.

1.2 A growing global market

The global market for online dating services is experiencing strong growth with an estimated CAGR of *.*% between **** and ****. It is expected to grow from $*.* billion to $*.* billion.

Global Marketplace for Online Dating Services World, ****-****, in billions of US dollars Source: ****

The global market is driven by the increase in the ...

1.3 A dynamic national market

Market size of online dating United Kingdom, ****-****, in millions GBP Source: ****

The UK market for matchmaking services grew at a rapid rate of *.*% per annum between **** and ****. The most dynamic segment of the market is online dating sites and applications, which now accounts for **% of the industry's turnover. The online ...

1.4 Positive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the dating market

Increase in online dating services activity

The restriction of British people's outings in the midst of the epidemic has led to a boom in home entertainment, particularly online entertainment such as dating applications. Tinder, for example, said that since the pandemic, discussions about its application have lasted on average **% longer (***). [***]

Improving ...

2 Demand Analysis

2.1 Typical user behaviour and profile

Devices used to access dating app or website United-Kingdom, ****, in % Source: ****

The British overwhelmingly use their mobile phones to access opt-out sites and applications (***).

Gender distribution among mobile users of online dating apps United Kingdom, ****, in Source: ****

Men account for **% of users of dating applications. However, this proportion varies greatly from ...

2.2 Drivers of demand for online dating services

Smartphone penetration United Kingdom, ****-****, in Source: ****

There is a strong link between the massive spread of smartphones in the UK population and the growth of the online dating market. Indeed, the main players in the sector are above all mobile applications created with the aim of offering an optimal user ...

2.3 Online dating plays a key role in the formation of British couples

How did you meet your current or most recent partner? United Kingdom, ****, in Source: ****

**% of Britons met via an online dating platform, *% via a website or *% via a dating application. While this figure is high, it remains well behind meeting at work (***). However, online dating is ahead of dating during ...

2.4 A prominent place in the UK's favourite applications

Leading iPhone non-gaming apps, by revenue Great Britain, February ****, in thousands of USD Source: ****

Tinder largely dominates the iPhone application landscape with revenues of $*.* million in February ****, more than three times more than its main competitor Netflix. However, Match.com's brand is not the only dating app to make a name ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Many players but a market dominated by a few dominant companies

There are *** different companies in the UK online dating market. The size of the market is estimated at £*** million, which represents an average annual income of £***,*** per business. On the other hand, the industry employs *,*** people, which makes an average of *.* employees per company. These figures highlight the fact that the ...

3.2 Presence of a variety of business models on the market

The Huffington Post has made a large study in the UK dating market and drew various conclusions about the success of companies in the sector.

Monetization

Most companies generate revenue through a "freemium" model in which registration is free but the user pays for additional services and features. A minority of ...

3.3 The particularities of the London online dating market

London in relation to the rest of the United Kingdom

Londoners are the main users of dating applications and sites across the UK. In fact, **% of Londoners have used such a service in the last ** months, which is significantly higher than in other parts of the country.

Londoners also differ from ...

3.4 A future dependent on the sector's ability to meet the challenge of insecurity

The main criticisms of dating applications concern the insecurity associated with their use:

Many users, especially young women, are victims of inappropriate behaviour and harassment. False profiles are legion and pose the problem of regulation on the part of companies in the sector. Dating people you meet online is widely considered ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Main offers in the United Kingdom

Il existe une offre pléthorique de sites et applications de rencontre au Royaume-Uni. Ces différents acteurs se différencient en se positionnant sur un segment particulier ou en adoptant des modèles tarifaires innovants.

Source: ****

4.2 Current trends and upcoming innovations in the online dating market

Increase in the number of sites offering a tailor-made product

Niche applications represent a growing part of the online dating offer. The main examples in the UK are :

JDate (***) Asian* (***) Muslim Veggie Romance (***)

These applications surf on the tendency of humans to look for a partner who looks as much like ...

5 Regulation

5.1 A regulation in full adaptation

The main regulatory issue for dating platforms is the protection of users' data, governed by the DPMR which applies to all EU Member States. The regulations on this subject are available at Europa Lex . Some applications such as Tinder and Grindr have been pointed at the sale of certain intimate data. ...

6 Positioning of the players

6.1 Segmentation of players in the UK dating sites and applications industry

  • Tinder (Match Group)
  • Meetic
  • Badoo
  • Happn
  • Bumble
  • Match group OkCupid
  • Match Group Hinge

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Global online dating market
  • Top dating apps by downloads on Android and IOS
  • Size of the dating market
  • Online dating service/app statement agreement
  • Do you think other dating service/app users were behaving in the following ways more, less or about the same now compared to pre- lockdown?
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Latest news

Justin McLeod launches Hinge dating app in France | Hinge launched in France by Justin McLeod - 04/04/2023
  • By 2022, one in four French people will have met their partner online.
  • - Hinge is firmly established in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia, and is aiming for massive deployment in Europe.
  • - Hinge is present in the Nordic countries, Germany and now France, and plans to launch in Spain and Italy.
  • - The dating market is estimated at 7.5 billion euros worldwide.
  • - Hinge employs 237 people and is aiming for sales of 400 million euros by 2023.
  • - 20% of Internet users abandon their registration on Hinge because they find the process lengthy.
  • - Hinge has raised ten million euros from investment companies such as Founders Fund and CAA Ventures.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Tinder (Match Group)
Meetic
Badoo
Happn
Bumble
Match group OkCupid
Match Group Hinge

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the dating market | UK

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