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When the first dating site launched in the 1990s, there were no online dating statistics or reviews. Single people didn’t really know what a dating site was or if it could work, so signing up was truly pioneering the unknown. Thankfully, we’ve learned a lot since then, and tons of research has gone into describing the trends and success rates in the online dating industry.
The numbers show that online dating can work, and it’s rapidly becoming the new normal for singles young and old. But you don’t have to take our word for it. We’ve collected stats from the top researchers, polling institutes, and dating services to give people a well-rounded picture of what online dating is all about.
The following online dating stats are must-know information for anyone considering creating a dating profile and seeking romance online.
The Pew Research Center has been polling Americans about online dating for decades now, and its data shows some encouraging trends for the swiping scene. In a survey conducted in late 2019, 30% of U.S. adults said they have tried using a dating site or app to meet people.
What’s more, the Pew Research Center broke down online dating usage by age, gender, race, education, and sexual orientation, and the survey found that online dating is slightly more popular among men than women and significantly more popular among 20-somethings than 60-somethings.
Nearly half of respondents (48%) between 18 and 29 years old said they have tried online dating before, and only 13% of respondents in the 65-and-older category said they have tried online dating.
Everyone has likely heard of the mainstream dating platforms of Match.com, eharmony, Tinder, and Bumble, but they’re hardly the only players in the online dating market. Niche dating sites have cropped up to satisfy every possible dating desire and cater to minority groups of all shapes and sizes.
According to rough estimates, something like 2,500 dating sites and apps operate in the U.S., and over 5,000 dating platforms exist worldwide. Many of these sites are not nearly as popular as the big-name services; however, some singles prefer swimming in a smaller dating pool — so, to each their own!
Online dating was once stigmatized as a tool for the lonely and desperate, but now it’s the toast of many wedding parties around the world. The U.S. has seen a particular uptick in the number of newlyweds reporting that they met online.
The Knot conducts a newlywed survey every year to see what’s going on in the world of love. In 2019, the website reported that online dating is now the most popular way to meet a spouse.
Thanks to its survey, The Knot has been able to track how online dating has become more successful than other avenues in matching young adults with a long-term partner. Within the last year, a sizable 22% of newlywed respondents said they met their partner online, while 19% met through friends and 17% met through work.
Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfield came to a similar conclusion in his academic study, saying, “I was surprised at how much online dating has displaced the help of friends in meeting a romantic partner.”
It’s no secret that consumers tend to log a lot of screen time throughout the day, and younger people tend to spend more time on their phones than average screen time. As millennials enter their 30s, they have increasingly turned to online dating for entertainment as much as self-improvement.
A Badoo study of online dating users under 30 found a high level of engagement and return visits. People in this age group spent about 10 hours per week swiping on the dating app. The average dating app session lasted 9.7 minutes for single men and 7.6 minutes for single women.
The Pew Research Center has followed up with daters to see how successful their online dating experience is, and the results are fairly encouraging — especially for a single person in the LGBTQ+ community.
The most recent survey reported that among those surveyed 11% of straight singles and 21% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual singles have met a long-term partner on a dating website or app.
Online dating seems to be a winner in the queer community. Statistics show that it’s both more popular and more successful among gay and lesbian singles. In a recent survey, PinkNews found that 65% of same-sex couples who met in 2017 had met online, while only 39% of opposite-sex couples said they met online.
Hinge has a good reputation as a relationship app where dating profiles have more information, and an app user must like or comment on something specific to make a match. The Hinge team is serious about helping singles get into a committed relationship — that’s why they’ve adopted the tagline “designed to be deleted.”
One of the ways the team improves online dating is by consistently asking for feedback from its active users. Hinge launched its We Met feature to allow online daters to provide feedback on their dating experience. So far, over 90% of users have reported they had a good time on their first date, and 72% said they would go on a second date, if asked.
Hinge boasts being the best online dating app for second dates, and it has the numbers to back that up.
A lot of experts want to pin down exactly who uses online dating to meet new people, and the answer comes back consistently: young people do. Generation Z and millennials have been leading the way in terms of online dating usage. The Kaspersky security company stated the average online dater is 33.8 years old, and 63% of online daters work full time.
The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University has been conducting academic research into human sexuality and relationships since 1947. The recent rise of online dating has opened a new field of study for the researchers, and the Kinsey Institute has published assessments on the regional differences and gender differences in online dating usage.
In 2020, the Kinsey Institute conducted the largest survey of women’s sex-tech engagement. Researchers surveyed more than 130,000 women around the world to see how technology impacted their love lives. Nearly 22% of the women in the survey said they have used mobile dating apps to find romantic partners.
Online dating usage appeared to be particularly prevalent among the women surveyed in Oceania — 1 in 3 of whom said they use dating apps to meet people.
In 2019, the number crunchers at Statistica broke down the income levels of the online dating population to see if downloading a dating app could pay off. It found that 34% of online daters make less than $30,000 a year, and 28% have an income of over $75,000 a year.
Tinder changed the online dating game when it launched in 2012, and it has collected some pretty impressive statistics since then. The dating app has been downloaded over 400 million times and created over 55 billion mutual matches in less than 10 years. Tinder users exchange over 4.2 million GIFs and go on approximately 1.5 million dates every week.
Tinder is currently available in more than 40 languages and 190 countries. Over half of Tinder users are under 25 years old.
The eharmony team has a run-up of online dating statistics pulled from its dating service and other respectable outlets. Its most interesting findings concern the age when a person’s desirability is at its peak.
According to eharmony, heterosexual women who are 21 receive the most attention from male users. Young women are highly desirable in the online dating world, and they can sometimes become overwhelmed by an onslaught of likes and messages.
Women in their 20s consistently see the highest rates of incoming messages and likes, but men catch up to women in terms of desirability in their late 40s. The experts say, “At 26, women have more online pursuers than men whereas, at 48, men have twice as many online pursuers as women.”
Plenty of Fish has reported similar findings in 2014. Women who are in their mid-20s received 14.4% more messages than did other users that year, while women who are 33 received the fewest number of messages.
The first Sunday in January has become something of a holiday in the online dating industry because online dating activity tends to peak on this day every year. Industry leaders refer to it as Dating Sunday and expect traffic to increase anywhere from 40% to 70% on that day.
Dating Sunday is basically the Black Friday of online dating. Many single people make a New Year’s resolution to get a date or fall in love, so early January is statistically one of the best times to set up a dating profile and start swiping on new romantic possibilities.
Ever wonder what to say in a first message? Well, OkCupid has dug into its user data, crunched the numbers, and come up with some first-message tips based on sitewide trends.
OkCupid has found that interest-based words (band, vegetarian, favorite movies) tend to elicit higher response rates than physical compliments (hot, sexy, beautiful), and unique greetings such as hola and howdy go over better than generic greetings such as hi or hello.
The numbers also provide insight into the right length for a first message, which is about one or two sentences long. OkCupid reports that the sweet spot for an online dating message is between 40 and 90 characters.
That is basically just enough space to say howdy and ask one personal question, so online daters have to make every word count.
“FYI this sentence is 40 characters long,” the OkCupid article says. “This little ditty has 90 characters. Can you believe it?? We can. Because we counted them.”
Bumble has created a buzz in the online dating market as the world’s first feminist dating app. It was launched by former Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd in an effort to empower single women and civilize single men. By 2020, the dating app had surpassed over 100 million users, making it one of the most popular online dating services available.
The Bumble app has positioned itself as a values-driven alternative to casual swiping apps like Tinder. It appeals to single people who are serious about making a meaningful connection.
In an internal survey of active Bumble users, fewer than 1% of Bumble women — and fewer than 4% of all Bumble users — said that they were on the dating app to find casual sex. Over 80% of users said their ultimate goal was to get in a committed relationship.
Politics is a sticky issue in the dating scene, especially in today’s hyperpartisan political climate, and some dating experts encourage singles to avoid talking about politics when they’re first getting to know someone. However, many singles have started bucking this norm and talking politics early in a new relationship.
Since 2016, reports show that online daters have started talking politics earlier and more frequently. A growing number of today’s dating profiles contain terms like “Trumper” and “Black lives matter” because such issues have become common dating dealbreakers.
In 2020, Match.com conducted its annual Singles in America study and reported that 45% of all singles want to know their love interest’s political viewpoints by the second date. A record-setting 75% of respondents agreed in the survey that it’s important for their romantic partner to share the same political beliefs.
Overall, Match.com found that Gen Z Republicans are the most uncomfortable talking to a date about their political views, while baby boomer Democrats are among the most comfortable sharing their views.
The reason for this difference in comfort levels most likely stems from the social stigma working against hardcore conservatives. A 2020 survey of U.S. adults found that 88% of people are willing to date a Democrat, 72% are willing to date a Republican, but only 52% are willing to date a person who voted for Donald Drumpf.
Zoosk is an online dating platform with a following of more than 40 million users in 80 countries. These singles come from all age groups and backgrounds, but Zoosk’s internal data indicates that one of the most popular subset of users are sports fans in the U.S.
A data study showed that profiles that contained the word “sports” received a 53% boost in messaging when compared to the site average. Terms like MBA, MLB, and rugby also correlated with an increase in messaging.
“Simply being a sports fan can boost your chances of getting attention.” — A Zoosk study
Plenty of Fish is a dating platform with over 150 million users, and it has found similar evidence that personality quirks pay off online. Specifically, being a music fan seems to be an attractive quality for online daters to possess. POF users received 32% more messages than average if they mentioned an interest in music in their dating profiles.
Female users who referenced Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd, or the Rolling Stones were 68% more likely to find a match than female users who were less rock-friendly.
Photos are one of the most important parts of a dating profile because they receive the most scrutiny by online daters. An eharmony study found that women are more likely than men to post multiple photos, and dating profiles with four or more photos were the most successful on the online dating website. This held true for both genders.
Additionally, eharmony profiles with photos were found to be nine times more likely to receive messages and likes than profiles without a photo. So, brush off your favorite selfies if you want to make a good first impression in the swiping scene.
Gay dating apps like Grindr and Hornet promote a fast-paced and photo-driven matching system that has allowed gay, bisexual, and queer men to come out of the closet with a bang — pun intended. However, some academics warn that the numerous options on men-seeking-men apps can lead singles to engage in risky and even dangerous behaviors.
For instance, a study in Hong Kong found that 25% of single men on gay dating apps said they did not use a condom during anal sex, and 30% of app users said they had anal sex with three or more sexual partners. Another 13% admitted to having group sex with men they had met on a dating app.
Fortunately, Grindr has taken steps to spread awareness about HIV and other STDs. This popular gay dating app currently allows its 27 million male users to opt-in for reminders to get tested. Research has proven gay dating apps can have a positive impact on a user’s sexual health by being proactive about it.
In a recent study, gay app users who encountered HIV intervention methods, including social media posts, were found to be 2.9 times more likely to have gotten an HIV test in the past year.
Breaking news: Some people lie on the internet just because they can. Online falsehoods can range from fake news to Nigerian prince scams, but the most common lies in the online dating world are best categorized as personal embellishments. Basically, singles lie to make themselves seem richer, taller, and more impressive.
OkCupid outed its male users for lying about their height by about two inches on average by charting the average height of male adults and the average height for OkCupid users. The dating website also estimated that its online dating users make about 20% less than their dating profiles say they do.
In one study, 31% of women and 36% of men admitted to lying on an online dating profile “just for fun.” Such fibs may seem harmless to some, but this kittenfishing phenomenon has caused widespread frustration.
Online dating platforms have had to get creative to support honesty and build trust among users. Some premium services allow a single person to verify their dating photos, annual income, and other personal details to prove they’re the real deal.
About 71% of online daters say it is very common for people to lie about themselves on a dating platform, and an additional 25% say it is somewhat common.
Online dating burnout is common among singles who spend hours swiping and chatting without getting the results they want. Many dating sites and apps struggle with user retention because it’s hard to convince an app user to come back after they’ve been ghosted, rejected, or flat out ignored. Sadly, about 10% of online daters give up on the swiping scene within three months. Some delete their profiles, while others simply leave without providing a reason why.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a global shift in dating patterns. In early 2020, singles under lockdown turned to their trusty online dating app for social connection and a distraction, and online dating usage spiked across multiple platforms.
Online chatting, video dates, and text relationships were the main form of dating until singles felt more comfortable agreeing to in-person dates — with some caveats.
The Singles in America survey found that dating during the new normal is all about finding the appropriate level of risk. By the fall of 2020, two-thirds of singles Americans said they would be willing to meet a date in person, but 36% said they are more selective about who they date and 23% said they are more selective about where they go on a date.
When asked about their stance on masks, 20% said they insist on both daters wearing a mask throughout the date. Surprisingly, young singles were more likely to vocally support mask-wearing — 28% of Gen Z and 25% of millennials agreed mask-wearing is a must on dates.
A 2020 Buzzfeed poll found people gridlocked on the idea of taking off a mask while meeting a date in person. About 35% of respondents said they’d feel comfortable taking off a mask on a date, while 33% said they would not, and 32% said it would depend on the situation.
Dating during the pandemic certainly has its challenges, but it doesn’t have to be so scary with the right platform to guide you. Online dating platforms have worked fast to create tools to allow for social distancing and keep users out of potentially dangerous situations.
Dating sites with video calls have become the go-to wingman for singles seeking a low-risk way to meet new people and pursue romantic relationships. Studies indicate that singles have largely embraced video dating over the last year.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, only 6% of singles reported using a video platform for dating purposes, but by April 2020 the same study found that 69% of singles had used video streaming to chat with someone they met on a dating site or app.
Half of Gen Z singles and 29% of millennials said they had gone on a video date in 2020. It basically became the new coffee date during lockdowns.
The Hinge team asked its users for feedback after unveiling its Date From Home video feature in the summer of 2020. The online dating app found that 82% of singles did not find video dates more awkward than in-person dates, and 52% said they planned to continue going on video dates after the pandemic has ended.
The very nature of a romantic relationship has changed in the era of social distancing. During the pandemic, a wave of singles turned away from bars, house parties, and social gatherings and began exploring social media and dating sites to find meaningful connections while staying at home.
Nearly one-third of online daters reported that they sent more online dating messages during the lockdowns of 2020, and 25% said they’d been in contact with an ex.
Attitudes have shifted in favor of online relationships. About 22% of online daters said they would consider entering a committed relationship with someone they hadn’t met in person. A remarkable 49% of single adults said long distance isn’t a dealbreaker in their relationships.
Feminism is another hot-button issue in the online dating scene. Heterosexual couples can struggle to balance progressive ideals with more traditional values, and sometimes they may encounter gender differences that hold them back.
For instance, there isn’t a clear consensus on how to split the bill on a dinner date. Roughly two-thirds of all respondents in an Elite Singles survey said the man should pay, but when you break it down by gender it’s clear that men are driving that number up.
Over 80% of men think they should pay for a dinner date, while 55% of women think a man should pay and 34% of women say splitting the bill is the best option.
By and large, single men seem to put pressure on themselves to pay for dinner and live up to old-school gender rules. In reality, their date may not have those same expectations and can negotiate to a more fair arrangement. The eharmony team reported that about 68% of men treat women on the first date.
Bumble, Hinge, and other female-friendly dating apps empower a single woman to screen potential matches and make the first move in the swiping scene. But some dating apps have found evidence that not every single woman is about that life.
OkCupid did some research on how feminism impacted dating habits. The dating platform found that while 77% of female users called themselves a feminist, fewer than 1% of straight women said they would rather pursue men than be pursued. A solid 45% of women said they want to be pursued by a man, and 54% said they prefer a little of both.
“Being feminist doesn’t mandate that you reject all traditional gender roles,” the OkCupid team concluded.
Every city has a different demographic, and that can have a dramatic impact on the local online dating scene. Ashley Madison is most popular in Seattle and Denver, while eharmony gets the most traction in New York City where 57% of the population is single.
Every city has its own favorite online dating app. Tinder’s most swipe-happy cities tend to be college towns or cities with a lot of young residents. On the other hand, Facebook Dating has been doing well in less populous areas where singles want a more organic and less fast-paced way to meet a romantic partner.
Elite Singles recently tracked how much online daters spend on their romantic nights out and calculated that the average date costs about $116.
Of course, the cost of a date varies based on the city and the activity. The researchers found that San Francisco is the most expensive city to go on a date — a date night costs about $143 there. Omaha, Nebraska, is one of the cheapest cities to cover the cost of a date at $83.
The most expensive date night activities typically involve drinks, dinner, or live entertainment. Budget-conscious singles can always meet for coffee or a hiking day to save money and fall well below the $116 average date night cost.
Match.com recently surveyed its members to get a sense of who they are and what they want. The data shows that Match members tend to be well-educated singles with high dating standards. The survey asked 1,500 singles if they were more selective about first dates in today’s economy, and 84% said yes.
The online dating market has grown tremendously over the last decade or so. From 2013 to 2015, online dating usage tripled among young adults in the U.S. alone, and global traffic has continued to climb as dating services like Tinder and eharmony have become household names.
In the U.S., revenue for online dating services is on track to reach $2.7 billion in 2020. Financial experts predict online dating revenue will nearly double in size and reach $4.2 billion by 2024.
Online dating experiences can vary widely. On one side you have a single woman overwhelmed by incoming messages within minutes of her registration, and on the other side you have a single man hustling to send out likes and messages but getting few responses.
Some singles say they enjoy having a lot of potential date options at their fingertips, while others say it’s too much work for them to get a date.
According to the Pew Research Center, the majority of online daters have an overall positive experience. About 14% of U.S. adults said their online dating experience was very positive, and 43% said it was somewhat positive.
Interestingly, singles with advanced degrees were more likely to say they had a good time in the swiping scene than their less educated counterparts (63% versus 47%), but the researchers did not find any statistically significant differences in online dating assessments by race, gender, or ethnicity.
The Pew Research Center asked for Americans to provide value judgments on online dating and discovered, perhaps unsurprisingly, that people who had tried online dating had a more positive opinion about it than people who had never tried online dating.
About 62% of online daters agreed that relationships that start online are just as likely to succeed as any other relationships. Whereas, 52% of non-app users said the same thing. Additionally, about 1 in 3 online daters said dating sites and apps have been a good thing for modern-day dating and relationships, and only 21% of non-app users agree with that.
Powered by Match.com, the Singles in America study has kept a finger on the pulse of the dating landscape for decades. That has given it the unique ability to track how attitudes, norms, and trends change as new generations of daters come into their own.
Today’s daters express more openness to dating outside their race than in any of the previous surveys. The data shows that in 2010, a remarkably high 75% of singles said they would prefer to date within their own race. In 2020, that number decreased by 58% and reached an all-time low in the survey’s history.
Approximately 64% of Americans in the survey also said a potential partner’s views on racial equality could be a dealbreaker for them.
Gen Z is the most diverse generation in American history, so it should come as no surprise that these young singles have canceled racial prejudice in the dating scene.
Some evidence suggests that online dating has helped contribute to the rise of interracial relationships and marriages because it allows singles of different backgrounds to find one another. Some dating sites and apps have gotten flack for having race or ethnicity filters, but Match.com has defended these tools by saying they serve to empower minorities seeking a partner with shared values.
Lastly, we’d like to end on a high note by pointing out an oldie but a goodie. Neuroscience researchers conducted a survey of over 19,000 people who got married between 2005 and 2012, and the study found a positive association between online dating and relationship satisfaction.
Respondents who met their spouses through online dating reported higher levels of happiness in their marriages than those who met through traditional means. Couples who met online were also less likely to break up or get divorced according to the study.
Decades of expert-led research and surveys have yielded a wealth of online dating statistics. Our list includes some of the most noteworthy trends impacting singles across the spectrum. The numbers tell a story about what modern daters are looking for online and what type of singles are most successful in this medium.
Many popular dating sites have scouted the terrain and analyzed user behavior to get a handle on how effective online dating is and how it can be improved. Online dating studies have run the gamut from counting the words in messages to measuring swiping’s impact on mental health. Such data-driven takeaways can help online daters make informed decisions to upgrade their online dating experience.
We hope these interesting facts and figures have given you something to think over as you create your own personal stats on the online dating site or app of your choice. Good luck!