Online dating has become big business. Not only do revenues earned by dating sites continue to increase year after year, those sites have proven to be pretty decent at matchmaking. According to one study, in the year 2008 online dating sites were a factor in hooking up 120,000 couples who were married that year.
It’s no wonder that the Internet has impacted dating the way it has, considering how it has changed the way we watch TV, get our news, read books and, of course, shop. It’s the shopping part of online dating that tells the biggest tale. In the year 2007, online dating sites earned just over $1 billion in revenue. That number is expected to climb as high as $1.65 billion by the year 2012.
Today, online dating sites generate more revenue than, let’s say, online pornography. After digital music sites and video games such as MMORPGs, online dating sites are the third most popular type of paid sites on the Internet.
Take, for example, eHarmony. This site is one of the trend setters among online dating sites. The site has more than 20 million members, all of whom belly up to pay $50 for a monthly membership. As you can imagine, those revenues grow quite nicely.
Match.com doesn’t charge as much for their monthly memberships, coming in at around $30. That may be why they boast of almost 10 million more members than eHarmony. Here again, online dating is proving to be big business.
That money, or at least a good portion of it, goes right back into the marketplace via advertising revenues. In 2009, the online dating services spent around $350 million in advertising. Judging from the membership numbers at the top online dating sites, that money has proven to be a wise investment. It’s estimated that around 20 million people use at least one online dating site each month, suggesting that many consumers have memberships at multiple sites.
What’s truly interesting is the demographics that make up online dating sites. Right now, it’s estimated that around 60 percent of women and 50 percent use online dating sites, which explains the move by many newcomers into the online dating arena to market more heavily toward women, trying to capture that larger market share.
It’s hard to say with any certainty how online dating will change in the next few years, but there are two things you can be sure of: online dating isn’t going anywhere, and it’s going to continue to make some serious bank.