Over the last 20 years online dating has grown to become a massive industry. As a matter of fact most people do not realize it but the online dating industry is actually the 3rd largest online industry, just behind music and movie. YES! It is REALLY that big. Billions of dollars have been spent off the idea that the perfect person maybe waiting for you online. Today you can find tens of thousands of online dating sites all around the world; something for every interest, location, or lifestyle. From Millionaire sites, to dating site for those with STD’s, to dating for self-proclaimed geeks; it’s all there for the taking. Online dating is truly everywhere, but now that there are so many specialized sites on offer what affect does that have on the overall online dating market?
Or perhaps a better question. What will take people offline in the next 10 years and really connect singles for meaningful relationships?
Before we try to answer that question, let me explain what I see happening in the online dating industry. As someone who researches online dating sites full time and a close industry observer here is what I see happening.
The shrinking online dating market; Trust Factor
This past year a study by the PEW Research Center documented the fact that online dating is more socially accepted as well as the fact that more people are now using these types of online matchmaking services. The study did not however, pinpoint specific dating sites but more so focused on bulking all ‘online dating’ technologies together. My claim is this. I and many other 30’s something singles would vehemently argue there are actually fewer and fewer, ‘online’ dating sites that are widely trusted. I truly believe the numbers of dating sites with a bright future is radically starting to dwindle because of that. I also believe that online dating as we knew it in its infancy is beginning to die off as a new breed of internet connected matchmaking services are coming to the forefront. Here is how I would explain what is happening currently in the online dating industry…
Social Media fills the socialization void and Free Dating Sites Win!
More people are using social media avenues to meet their socialization needs rather than sitting in dating site chat rooms from their bedrooms. Whether that is perusing Facebook or Google Plus or engaging more on web 2.0 niche Communities, while fewer people use dating sites for just chatting it up with random strangers as they once did. People are getting smarter with technology and there time.
Likewise free dating sites are winning the day. 2014 Online Dating Statistics show that sites like POF and OKCupid continue to gain market share over premium dating sites. Statistics also show that adult dating sites are on the rise. We’ll save that topic for another time since its still taboo in some circles. However, these trends are all ominous signs for premium niche dating sites. I look at these trends together as not something bad but part of the natural life cycle of the online dating evolution. Smarter, better, faster, , you know the drill. We’ve been here before and in every new industry things evolve and (at least we hope) things get better over time.
Along the way to perfection ideas will fail
Sites like Hitch.me used to use LinkedIn profiles to help match people by common interests, backgrounds, and so forth. They used filters to regulate which profiles are seen by specific groups. While Hitch.Me is no longer running, there are many other sites with similar features.
Isn’t good Online Dating Really Offline Dating?
My question for you is, aren’t these technologies really about being offline and actually dating? This is not online dating as once knew it, it is dating and using modern technology from a phone. Call is semantics if you like, but that is why I believe ‘Online Dating’ as we knew before is dying and dying fast.
Two words: Mobile Apps
More people have smartphones than have computers and that will continue to be the case in the foreseeable future. With apps you can do more in less time which leaves more time for things that really matter in your life. Mobile dating apps are not the just the future they are the present. We are currently in a time of massive transition in the online dating industry. It’s a time that is fraught with bad examples of good technology. Yes, I agree that there are tons of bad dating apps in both the Apple store and as well as at Google play…and just a few good ones.
However, once more people are exposed to good mobile dating applications the transition will be much more sudden and pronounced. Sure, senior dating sites for at least this generation maybe the only temporary mainstay, but even singles in that niche too will make the transition over the longer haul.
So there you have it, online dating sites will be the old way of finding dates or so say me!
You can read our Jason Lee’s dating app reviews here to learn more about his favorites and get the scoop on all the latest mobile dating apps.