It’s hard to believe that just five years ago joining a dating app might have been an embarrassing thing to admit. Today, for Millennials especially, dating app membership is more akin to a rite of passage than a source of shame.
Thanks to big names like Tinder, eHarmony, and OkCupid, online dating and matchmaking apps have lost some of their stigma. What’s more, the industry has diversified beyond a one-size fits all solution for finding romance. Who would have thought you can even find your ideal match through your mutual dislikes?
Data reveals that the union of tech and love is more than a just a fad, it’s altering the reality of relationship norms. The graph below, based on a nationally representative study of over 2,500 heterosexual couples in the US, shows a considerable decrease in “traditional” first encounters in the past ten years. Meanwhile, online interactions have increased at an astounding rate. One can only imagine that as our lives grow ever more digitally-oriented, our relationships will follow suit, with mobile apps playing a major role. With these trends in mind, Dalia decided to conduct a study to find out which dating apps are most popular, see how long people are spending on each app, and discover how many dates they’re really getting each month. Completed in September 2017, the study comprises 206 urban-dwelling, smartphone-owning respondents aged 14–45 from the United States who currently use a dating app.
Overall, Tinder has the highest usage rate at 43% followed by Plenty of Fish with 28% and Match with 26%. Older age groups, those between 36 and 45, appear to prefer Plenty of Fish (36%) and Match (30%) over Tinder (26%). Notably, Tinder is generally considered to be more of a “hookup app” and therefore more oriented towards younger age groups who aren’t necessarily looking for committed, long-term relationships. Apps like Match, Plenty of Fish and eHarmony are more traditional relationship apps. The diversification of the dating app market means that there’s an app for everyone, with each employing unique strategies to achieve different outcomes for the users.
An average Tinder user for example, spends about 52 minutes on the app everyday and has met roughly 3 different people within the last month (more dates than from any other app). Conversely, users of the “anti-tinder” app, Coffee Meets Bagel, seem to focus more on quality over quantity. They spend roughly an hour and 18 minutes on the app each day but have only met between 1 to 2 people in the past month (1.5 average).
The survey also considered user’s experiences on the app. Out of all the apps included in Dalia’s study, eHarmony received the highest user experience rating with 4.2 out of 5 stars. Tinder and Grindr tie for second place with a score of 4.1. When it comes to concerns of safety and comfort, women and men’s opinions tend to diverge; 30% of men say Tinder is the app that makes them feel safest and most comfortable, but only 15% of women agree. Women chose eHarmony as the safest app at 21%. App users rate Tinder as the easiest to use (23%) and as the easiest app to meet people with (29%). Overall Tinder wins as the top choice of dating app (32%), followed by Plenty of Fish (16%) and eHarmony (11%).
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Image by Bence Boros