Men Vastly Outnumber Women On Dating Apps In India

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Dating in India

Bumble made headlines this year when it announced plans for an expansion into India. Though the Indian market is large and tech-savvy, western dating apps have struggled to find a foothold. India’s traditional approach to courtship has raised concerns about whether online dating has a place in a society with a history of arranged marriages, class divides, and parental oversight of relationships.

A recent survey by Indian dating app Woo reveals the ways centuries of conservative values continue to affect singles in the country. According to the data, the gender divide on dating apps is immense. Only 26 percent of users are female, while 74 percent are male - in other words, there are nearly three times as many men as women on online dating platforms in India.

For comparison, women are slightly more than 40 percent of the user base on dating apps like Bumble and Tinder in the United States. Users in the US also differ from users in India in their reasons for joining dating services. Many Americans are comfortable openly using dating platforms for hookups and casual dating, but in India, dating app users say they have more serious goals.

The Woo survey found that the primary reason Indian users join a dating app is to find a “meaningful relationship.” The second most common reason is to make new acquaintances after moving to a new city.

Sachin Bhatia, CEO and co-founder of dating app TrulyMadly, told Quartz that young Indian men and women have embraced dating apps for purposes outside of dating.

“The uses of a dating app are pretty standard across the world. But there are a couple of differences in how Indians use them,” Bhatia said. “When we look at the 18- to 21-year-olds, a lot of them get on to a dating app just to make friends. This is common particularly for girls who are new to a city either for work or to study. Their social networks are fairly limited in the new cities, so they use dating apps to make friends, get to know people, and obviously, if something results in a relationship, so be it.”

The skewed gender ratio on dating apps in India is a well-known problem that has stumped companies trying to break into the market. Recently, Tinder introduced a feature exclusively for India that allows female users to be the only ones to initiate a conversation after a match is made. Many pointed out the feature’s similarity to Bumble, which announced its launch in India around the same time. Bumble is also experimenting with India-specific features to ensure female users’ safety and encourage adoption in the country.

Bumble partnered with actress Priyanka Chopra for the launch after Chopra told the company’s founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd that "Indian women needed Bumble." Chopra has praised Wolfe Herd’s commitment to investing in women, and in a recent interview with NDTV, said she believes Bumble is uniquely equipped to be the app that finally cracks the online dating market for Indian women.

“I was at a dinner for Bumble Bizz and I just thought it was such an incredible platform,” she said. “A social network by women, for everyone - it is such a unique thought. It gives women precedence, it gives their choices precedence, it gives them safety and, at the same time, it is for anyone who wants to be a part of the social network."

“Being a woman from India,” Chopra continued, “I think this would be a really great platform. It will be a really amazing thing for Indian women to have their arsenal. It gives them a sense of empowerment because it is on their terms.”