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How Many Singles are Investing in Online Dating?

Studies
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Online dating is one of the most popular ways to meet people, thanks to free apps and services like Plenty of Fish and Tinder. But many daters opt to be more particular in their search, and are willing to pay for a more curated experience, whether it’s online dating, matchmaking, or even “casual dating” services, like escorts.

According to a new study done by Statista for the Digital Market Outlook (DMO), the United States has the largest share of adults worldwide who are actively paying for a dating service. More than a quarter – 26 percent - of daters in the U.S. are paying for dating services, followed by the UK at almost 21 percent and Germany with 17 percent.

Daters in France, China and Saudi Arabia were the least likely to pay for a dating service according to the study, with 13%, 11% and 5% of daters respectively who were active paying customers at the time of the study.

While it seems fewer people than ever are willing to pay to meet people (given all the free options), there is still a significant percentage of the population who would rather invest in their love lives. Especially if it means finding someone special or having a more personalized experience.

This is in stark contrast to a story in Bustle from 2016 regarding dating app users in the U.S. According to online lender Earnest, only 1.6 percent of 18-26 year-olds who are on dating apps pay for premium services offered with an associated price tag, also known as tiered services. And as for Tinder Plus, less than 1% of its 32 million users pay for the premium service.

But looking at only online daters, especially younger millennials who tend to shy away from paying for dating services, the results will differ. Statista looked at daters across age ranges, as well as those looking for services beyond online dating, such as matchmaking.

When it comes to specialty services like matchmaking, singles are willing to pay up to thousands of dollars for a more curated experience. Even online dating companies are looking to generate revenue through premium matchmaker offerings. eHarmony hired an in-house matchmaker and charges users thousands per year for this service.

Tinder is looking into artificial intelligence as an incentive for its users to pay for premium services. According to Business Insider, Tinder is investing in technology that can get a sense of your match preferences, and find people it thinks you’re interested in.” It will also be able to recommend places to meet your dates based on your collective preferences.

Whether artificial intelligence will sway new users to try Tinder is unknown, but it seems for the time being, daters are willing to pay more money if it means a better result.