Dating is Big Business

People spend billions of dollars every year on celebrating Valentine’s Day. While couples buy flowers, candy, teddy bears, and go out for intimate meals, millions of others are still in the search for their significant other to share that special time with. So where do singles go to meet that special someone? Like the secondary ticket market, the dating market proliferated with the explosion of the Internet.

In the age of social media, dating apps are the place that most singles turn to find their special someone. And it is not just apps. Many web sites cater to both men and women for dating advice. With the shift in dating to the online realm, sites and apps that focus on dating are among the top earners in a $12 billion industry. It is estimated that by 2031 more than half of the people in relationships will have met through an online service.

Four Power Dating Players

While the list of dating apps can go on for days, it turns out that most are controlled by the same four companies: Sparks Networks SE, Badoo, The Meet Group, and Match. There are still some independent companies that have been highly successful.

Match Group is among the largest of the online dating companies. Match Group owns some big-name apps such as Tinder, Match.com, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid. Match Group, which is listed on the NASDAQ under ticket symbol MTCH, has a present market cap over $18 billion.

One of the largest and most well-known apps controlled by Match Group is Tinder. Tinder was an innovator in the game of dating apps. Millennial dating is a big target. The app required users to use Facebook information to login and introduced what is now a staple in dating apps with the swipe feature. This feature allowed users to swipe right if they were interested and left if they were not. Tinder has begun to lose some of its steam and the rate of user increase has begun to decline.

The name “match” in the online dating field should sound familiar. They are responsible for the development of the site, match.com. While becoming less popular over the years, it still remains a popular site that is trusted in the online dating world.

The Meet Group is another company that owns a number of dating apps. Meet Group started out with the website myYearbook. After an acquisition and name change to MeetMe, the company acquired the social media app Skout in 2016 and became The Meet Group. Meet Group’s market cap is just above $400 million.

Badoo is another popular mobile app. It is believed that Badoo has around 400 million users.

Spark Networks got its beginnings back in 1997 when MatchNet creator Joe Y. Shapira started JDate.com. The company was renamed in 2005 and controls big-name sites such as Christian Mingle. With the increase in free online services, Sparks was forced to merge with Affinitas GmbH and became Spark Networks SE.

There are still online dating services that remain independent. eHarmony is one of the most famous online dating services. Dr. Neil Warren, a clinical psychologist who is often featured in the commercials, launched eHarmony in 2000. The service focuses on matching people using a compatibility quiz to match singles together.

Zoosk is an online dating service that spans further than most. The service is offered in more than 80 countries around the world. Zoosk has been unsuccessful in attempts to take the company public and has been dealing with issues of fake profiles and scams.

Grindr was the first major dating app for gay men. The app, launched in 2009, uses geolocation to allow users to meet with people who are near them. In 2011, Grindr was awarded “Best Mobile Dating App” by iDate. In 2011, the company behind Grindr launched a version for straight people called Blendr.

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