Online Dating is Booming
Most of you aren’t old enough to remember “computer dating” from the ’70s and ’80s, when you would fill out a paper-and-pencil profile, your information would be entered into a computer program, and you would be matched to a potential date. It wasn’t very sophisticated, but it got the job done.
Now, 60 years — yes, sixty years — after the very first computer program matched potential suitors, we’ve made amazing strides into what we can do to find love online. Online dating is a nearly-$2 billion industry, with thousands of dating sites and plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs and startup investors.
Here are a few statistics anyone interested in these opportunities should consider.
- There are nearly 8,000 dating sites around the world, with more than 2,500 in the United States and over 5,000 everywhere else, with roughly 1,000 new dating sites launching every year. There are dating sites based on occupations, like farmers and clowns; by race and national origin, like African-Americans and Indians (South Asian, not Native Americans, although they have their own dating sites); defining characteristics, like redheads and beard lovers; and even interests, like fitness.
- Nearly 50 million Americans have tried online dating. This does not include figures for the 5,000+ international dating sites.
- Match.com is the most popular site with 23.5 million users They get roughly 39.7 million visits per month, and they have facilitated more first dates, relationships, and marriages than any other dating site.
- 17% of marriages started online, and eHarmony is responsible for 4% of all U.S. marriages. So it’s a viable option for meeting your future partner.
- Daters spend an average of $243 per year per dating site. This includes registration and membership costs. Otherwise most dating sites are free to try before committing to the membership.
- One in 10 daters will quit after three months. That means you could turn over your entire subscriber base in less than one year. What is that going to do for your membership and renewal rates? What about cancellations? What about those members who cancel after you already charged them and they want to do a chargeback? This kind of behavior makes online dating a high-risk venture for most credit card processors.
- Online dating’s annual revenue is $1.9 billion for the U.S.,
according to StatisticBrain.com. Meanwhile, a report from Big Market Research says the number was $6.4 billion in 2017, presumably for the worldwide market. (In 2015, $1.6 billion of that was from China alone.)
This last figure of $1.9 billion/$6.4 billion is especially intriguing for those entrepreneurs and startups creating one of those 1,000 new dating sites each year.
Nearly all of that revenue comes from credit cards and debit cards, which can be a problem if your bank or credit card processor considers you too high-risk to continue your relationship. That’s why you want to work with a merchant services provider that takes the headache and hassle out of keeping you connected to your credit card processing.
Online dating is a competitive but lucrative venture for entrepreneurs who have found a particular niche to fill. But while you’re worrying about all the technology and keeping your customers happy, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your credit card provider is happy with you.
Should you be interested in the online dating industry, it would be wise to secure an online dating merchant account.