Swipe right, please?

Shameless confession… I found myself crying on my flight to Clemson this last Thursday while watching one of my all-time favorite movies – Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Now for all of you who may not have seen this cinematic work of genius –  I will give you a quick run-down. It essentially follows the love lives of many different characters and how they dynamically change over a year with break-ups, cheating, and misunderstandings. This biggest kicker is that they are all someone how connected – either family, friend, colleague, etc. and it ultimately falls under that “romantic comedy” genre.

Yet here I was… crying in public at the end of it all…

Embarrassing?

Yes.

However, did it shed light on my blog topic?

Yes.

And it was in that moment – right in those last crucial five minutes where everything wraps up in a perfect bow – as it always does in romantic comedies. Steve Carrell has just accepted Ryan Gosling into the family, Robbie and his dad make up, and Steve and Julianne Moore give you hope that their marriage will last. It all got me thinking about the way relationships, connections, and how you grow to meet someone has changed so drastically.

So naturally this got me thinking about the ever growing online dating community and consequently the constant creation of new niche mobile dating apps.

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However, if you didn’t catch on I am a huge skeptic when it comes to this specific type of social platform– and have vowed to not sign-up – despite many of my friends’ encouragements. So, I have officially decided to do a deep dive into all things dating apps and explore some questions.

First – What makes them so appealing to our generation?

I decided to start right at the source. Why has our generation decided to replace traditional authentic connections and chance meet-ups with a swipe left or a swipe right right? The online dating industry has moved from a once “socially strange” concept,  to a more widely accepted practice. During an April 2017 survey, 84% of dating app users stated that they were using online dating services to look for a romantic relationship,  43% used online dating for a friendly contact, and only 24% of respondents stated that that they used online dating apps and services explicitly for sexual encounters. The stigma that online dating is a last attempt for desperate individuals to find a partner has disintegrated. It has become an industry driven by Millieneals  (way to go guys) engaging in these apps for instant gratification. Applications like Tinder and The League have reduced dating to its most superficial qualities – while at the same time making  the experience of using these apps both simple and engaging. Initial physical attraction (indicated by a selection of curated photos) is what draws people to engage – and in my opinion that is not enough to lay the foundation for a real authentic relationship. It creates an almost “shopping mentality” when trying to find a match.

Additionally, the mobile dating scene has become overwhelmed with niche-applications. You can find just about any unconventional connection to begin the search for your perfect match. I think my personal favorite is Love Me, Love My Pets –  for people who view animals as just as important as people.  This is providing people with yet another way to filter – making the dating process seem more appealing. Individuals are now going into a once “scary” and “vulnerable” process already knowing so many intimate details about this prospective individual’s life and vice versa. It immediately removes that awkwardness than can come when first meeting and trying to establish a connection.

Lastly, the dating applications have become more trustworthy as many applications are allowing individuals to connect through their social platforms. It’s reducing potential “cat-fishing” – as people are already one step further in appearing to actually be who they say they are with an active social network profile (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.). While simultaneously bringing the dating process further out into the public.

All of these aspects are reasons behind why the dating industry is continuing to grow – due to its framework and thus bolstering its appeal.

But, where does the business aspect of this industry come into play – and will it continue to grow? 

The U.S. mobile dating market has grown from 340 million in 2015 to around 415 million in 2017 – and there is still projected growth. As the market becomes additionally saturated with niche -applications, it opens the doors for more people to join. There is a “room for everyone” type mentality and app-developers are realizing this. In general dating apps are a lucrative business. As of February 2017, some of the highest-grossing social apps in the Apple App Store worldwide were dating apps. In the United States, the top revenue generating iOS dating app was Match with a monthly app revenue of 1.3 million. However, despite the increasing revenue as well as the potential for future growth within the industry – dating applications will reach certain plateau. This is because once people use the application and then find a real connection they stop using the platform, and it becomes a more one-and-done-type service. These application companies are going to have to find more creative ways to acquire new customers. Despite this, the industry shows no signs of stopping as more businesses develop apps to only feed the ever growing demand of millennials. Many of our generations first experience when it comes to dating is now through a screen, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down just yet.

And there you have it – I think I have effectively ranted on dating apps.

I hope I haven’t steered too many of you away, and I more than welcome any and all criticism – hey maybe you can even change my mind? But for now I think I’m going to stick with my determination to meet someone akin to something out of Crazy, Stupid, Love.

But hey call me a hopeless romantic?

 

7 comments

  1. cgoettelman23 · ·

    This is a great article!! I, like you, am incredibly adverse and against dating apps. I think they take away the face-to-face aspect of a relationship, which, call me crazy, is an integral part in dating someone! I know that it helps people who are introverted or too nervous to meet people in public, but there’s something to be said about forming real connections with real people. Bravo to the app creators and developers for seizing a market and creating a business, but (in my opinion) the social drawbacks outweigh the monetary benefits of this shift in the “dating market.”

  2. I love this article! Like you and Colby, I have always struggled to understand the obsession over dating apps, I feel they are impersonal and promote the already anti-social characteristics of our generation. I found your comment regarding dating apps having the burden of becoming more creative in order to keep their customer base instead of becoming a “one and done” type of situation. It made me wonder whether the dating app bubble will eventually burst and be left to one or two reliable apps. Great article!

  3. mattwardbc · ·

    This is an awesome post! It’s very foreign to me that individuals are able to connect with one another over solely a picture, but on a more business note it’s interesting to look at the potential niche apps, like Love Me, Love My Pets have. Clearly, with usership and revenues growing dramatically these apps are here to stay. Hopefully, in the future they will be able to connect people with like interests such as connecting people with the same hobby rather than simply as hook up platforms.

  4. whitmcdonald2 · ·

    First of all, great movie choice! Love it! Second, thanks for sharing as this is an obviously relevant topic for our generation! I am in the same boat of hesitation to dating apps, but I think it will continue to grow despite speculation, especially as companies like Facebook and Google keep attempting to reach more users with providing Wifi connection through balloons and drones!

    After Claire’s presentation about Bumble and its future direction towards BumbleBizz- How do you think society will take to this new app? I thought Claire’s presentation was super interesting but curious if people will see it as professional resource!

  5. It’s definitely interesting to think about how dating has evolved in the past ten or twenty years. One thing that I was recently thinking about is that the experience of meeting someone in a bar, which was oh-so-common fifteen years ago, was popular before smartphones and even before texting was mainstream. You would go to the bar to meet your friends, and if they were late you’d hang and wait because you couldn’t really change the plan. Now, with smartphones, you don’t get there til you know your friend is there or on the way. On one level, Tinder and its peers have evolved to solve a problem that was also created by the smartphone.

  6. I actually think dating apps are silly for college students. You are in the most socially-rich environment of your lives, and I don’t know why someone would resort to an app as opposed to talking to the attractive BC student in their class. Once you graduate from college, however, the value becomes much more apparent. It used to be very hard to even meet new people. Now it might be even too easy.

  7. Really great article, Taylor and very well written. I also really love the movie so I like how you tied it into your topic. I knew that a lot of people used dating apps, but seeing the stats you mentioned was staggering. I do not know of any friends that have personally had much success with them, but it is not surprising to see that they are some of the highest grossing apps on the App Store. I think they are good ways for those that are shy to connect with others in general and I think that the trust factor is a big reason as to why people are hesitant to use them. I think that if these companies want to start marketing themselves better, they should try focusing on an approach that focuses on that angle.

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