Last December, more than 1 in 10 American adults visited dating sites, spending more than an hour a day there on average, according to Market research company Nielsen.(The 1.8 million visitors to OKCupid topped the field for time spent, at 3 hours a day.) Changing demographics are a big part of what’s inflating the industry.
Offering geo-dating apps, which allow smartphone users to locate potential dates nearby--has become almost a prerequisite for keeping up in mobile.
That’s long been the province of niche sites like Grindr.com, whose users spend a huge 2 hours a day on the site, according to the company, and Tinder.com, which has apparently become a favorite among athletes at the Sochi Olympics.
Related: Cheatin’ Hearts Online Cost Businesses M a Day That means making a dent as a new player will be harder than ever since many will have to build a database of users from scratch, says IBISWorld analyst Jeremy Edwards.
To survive, they’ll need a novel marketing strategy and a focus on untapped potential daters—sites targeting niche markets have higher rates of membership growth, according to the report.
The field is already crowded, with almost 3,900 companies running dating sites, according to a report last fall from business research firm IBISWorld.
The report projects the industry to add about a hundred companies per year over the next four years.
In the last few weeks, e Harmony has launched a personal matching feature called eh that Langston says will combine the company’s huge database with a real-live matchmaker--for 00 a pop.
And in May 2012, IAC launched Stir, which holds about 1,600 singles events per year nationwide.
Target marketing, changing demographics, and decreasing stigma about online dating are continually bringing new users to fore.
That growth is already beginning to attract investors.
Meanwhile, Age specializes in setting May-December relationships.