‘So, how did you meet?’
You’re almost guaranteed that this question will be asked whenever you introduce someone to your partner and for a growing number of us the answer will now be ‘online’.
Online dating, overall, is one of the most popular activities undertaken online – on par with Skyping and listening to podcasts. The creation of dating apps has made it even more accessible and more mainstream. To date, there have been 69 million dating app downloads in the UK alone and between January 2018 – October 2018 the UK Consumer Spend on dating apps was over £65 million (more than the amount spent on Netflix or Spotify).
What kind of people are dating online?
The first trend that is evident when analysing users of dating sites/apps is age. 75% of online daters are under the age of 30, and 90% are under 40.
Age also seems to indicate intention with more than half of 18-24 year olds seeing dating sites/apps as platforms for casual hook-ups whereas older adults see them as a means to develop short and long-term relationships.
This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated by the age of people who use particular apps:
- 75% of 18-24 years old use Tinder, an app known for more causal and sexual relationships.
- Adults between 25-34 years old begin to transition to Match.com making up 36% of its users. This particular website has a more trustworthy reputation and traditional approach to long term dating.
- 58% of 45-54 years old really embrace Match.com, more than doubling the percent of their age group who use Tinder.
At 65% of the user base, men outnumber women almost 2 to 1 as the biggest online daters.
Men also seem more swipe happy with statistics showing them aiming for quantity not quality. Men “like” their counterparts 46% of the time compared to women ‘liking’ their counterparts only 14% of the time. A study carried out by the Oxford Internet Institute and eHarmony also found that men are 30% more likely than women to initiate conversation.
So with so many men to choose from, how can you make your profile stand out?
Three main tips that studies have found are:
- Men were more successful when they had more photos on their profiles.
- Your dating profile should be roughly 70% about yourself, with the rest about what you’re looking for in a partner.
- Men had greater success when they approached women they believed were more desirable than themselves.
So what are your online dating options?
Dating apps/sites can be categorised into two main groups. The first group: websites like Match.com, eHarmony, and OkCupid which require users to write personal essays and complete questionnaires to then receive compatibility pairings. These traditional services have a reputation for being more trustworthy and serious. As reflected in the age statistics above, older people generally use these services when they are looking for a long term relationship. Having started as websites, these services have branched out into apps keeping them accessible and popular.
The second group: ‘new’ players in the dating game, the biggest name of which is undoubtedly Tinder. Most of us will have heard of Tinder, the revolutionary dating app which turned finding a partner into a game-like activity you can play from the comfort of your own phone. Other examples of these apps like Tinder are Hinge, Badoo, and Grindr. These newer dating apps skip the questionnaires and essays and jump to the good stuff; pictures, links to social media accounts, short bios, and age/gender/location preferences you can reduce or extend at the swipe of a screen. It is clear to see why these apps have a reputation for helping users find quick and causal sexual relationships rather than long term partners.
A growing popular dating app called Bumble has provided a new spin to the dating scene. Here’s the catch: when an opposite sex couple match, the woman must message the man first and she only has 24 hours to do so. With same-sex matches, either person can initiate the conversation. Bumble is also the only app that has a clear and prominent code of conduct to ensure the app is a safe and friendly place. The refreshing change of requiring a woman to make the first move is empowering for the female users and takes some pressure off men who find it daunting to send that first ‘hello’. With a 570% growth of downloads in the last two years as well as nearly $400 million in revenue for 2017, Bumble shows that quirky twists and clear policies prioritising safety and comfort might just be the way forward for dating apps of the future.
Does online dating work?
There is no concrete answer as to whether dating apps work. However, there are plenty of statistics which suggest they can work and defy the outdated idea that internet dating is always unsafe or unsuccessful.
- Online daters tend to get married quicker. One explanation for this is that ‘a lot of the information-gathering that courtship is really about is sped up by the information you can gather from the profiles and from a person before actually meeting them.’
- Online daters are also less likely to get divorce in the first year and report higher martial satisfaction than their counterparts who met in person.
- According to eHarmony approximately 542 of their members tie the knot each day, and in total more than 600,000 members have walked down the aisle.
- Similarly, eHarmony reports that its divorce rate is lower than that of the national average: 3.86% vs. 50%. Again, this can be explained through the information gathering aspect of the site – the rigorous surveys, questionnaires and essays written by its users allowing genuinely ‘perfect matches’ to be made.
So, if you’ve been flirting with the idea of finding love online maybe you should hit download and give it a try.
What is your experience of online dating? Have you met current or past partners online? Join or start the conversation below.
Here is a list of our sources for our statistics, have a read if you want more information.