Mobile dramatically altered the dating landscape, becoming the go-to platform for matchmaking around the world. So what’s the next move for dating apps?
For Valentine’s Day in 2019, many of those celebrating will be couples who met on dating apps — more this year than ever before. In fact, in 2018 dating apps helped account for more than one-third of all marriages. That’s quite the market penetration when you consider the first iPhone launched in 2007.
Mobile has become the de-facto platform for romantic encounters, and features that facilitate successful matches are proven to be attractive for monetization. Since 2016, consumer spend in dating apps has increased 190% to $1.3 billion. In 2018, Tinder was the #1 dating app by global consumer spend, second only to Netflix for spending in any non-gaming app (Bumble, the #2 dating app by consumer spend ranked 14th among all non-gaming apps).
The paid features vary by app. Bumble Boost offers the chance to see who has “liked” you first, extend matches beyond the normal 24 hours before they expire and rematch with expired matches. Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold provide likes, rewind swipes and “super likes.” Coffee Meets Bagel Premium empowers users to get an activity report on their messaging activity and see when their messages are read, among other features. With “ghosting” — not responding after being in conversation — being common in dating apps, the badge indicating you’re a premium user can simply signal that you’re serious about your dating life to potential matches.
Within dating apps, Bumble, an app in which women initiate conversations, has seen tremendous growth in consumer spend. Bumble rose in the dating app rankings from outside the top 10 in 2016 to #2 in 2018. There are a range of niche dating apps which are popular among different geographic areas and demographic groups, such as Farmers Dating, The League and WooPlus. But at their core, most utilize swiping on user profiles as a sign of interest.
What’s next for dating apps? Surely these platforms will continue to win over users looking to find their significant other. But these companies are also eying additional markets. If matchmaking was dating apps’ first move, their encore has been expansion beyond romantic interests, moving into platonic and business relationships. This helps broaden their potential user base to counter the inherent dilema for any dating platform: if you’re successful in pairing up a couple, you’re also losing two existing users.
To combat this, apps like Bumble (Bumble BFF) and Tinder (Tinder Social) have expanded their services to help users find friends or new business opportunities. It’s a shrewd move, as these services could cut into the massive market share primarily dominated by platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, for example.
By Valentine’s Day 2020, you could have found not only love, but also a new best friend or professional contacts through dating apps. While matching with new friends, industry contacts or potential colleagues may not feel intuitive from a dating app, these platforms’ sizable user bases, matching mechanics and demonstrated success in finding love prove the potential in these new markets. It’s simply the way of the world — and that way is increasingly on mobile.
For more insights on how mobile has transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, check out our State of Mobile 2019 Report: