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New Report on Dating App Trends Reveals Some Surprises

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If you’re a woman looking for a date, you might have better luck on dating apps than the guys. According to a new report from GlobalWebIndex, there are nearly 91 million people around the world using dating apps, but two-thirds of these users are men. The market skews younger, too – 70% of users are between 16 and 34.

While dating apps are certainly hot right now, they are only making a dent in terms of overall popularity in the online market. The report also states that 6% of Internet users use a location-based dating app, which puts the category behind niches like augmented reality (108 million monthly users), as well as games and social networking with 655 million and 582 million respectively.

Tinder might be the most popular dating app among Westerners with $1 billion valuation this year according to the report, but Chinese dating app Momo seems to be doing three times better with a $3 billion valuation as of 2015. Momo claims that they have 60 million active monthly users compared to Tinder, who projects 40 million users by April of this year. Of those 60 million Momo users, 25 million are in China, but the rest are across the globe in places like the United Arab Emirates, Phillippines, Thailand and India.

But what about the valuations? Considering most of these apps are free to download and use, how is it that they can be worth so much?

The report notes this discrepancy, too. Despite the large pool of dating app users, only one fifth of users have opted to pay for premium services. This research comes as Tinder is rolling out its new paid premium service, Tinder Plus. The initial roll-out of Tinder Plus in the U.K. was not received well, and in fact caused people with the free version of the app to downgrade its overall score in the app market to 1.5 stars. (In rolling out the new features, Tinder had also curbed some of the existing features of its free app – including limiting the number of matches a user could get per day.) Momo has only signed up two million for its paid service.

While other competitors aim to find their place in the market – offering more features, options and quality to the large and growing pool of dating app users - it seems that making money could still be elusive. Most apps draw users in by offering a free product, and then rolling out a paid “premium” service, but the people aren’t really responding. At least not as much as they need to for sustainable growth. The report points out that generating ad-based revenue is still a viable alternative, even if it means in-app advertising to maintain a free service.

We’ll see what the major dating app companies do next.