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…
However, did it shed light on my blog topic?
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.
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?