Online Dating - UK - April 2009
The online dating market has grown rapidly in recent years as stigma surrounding the industry has deteriorated. However, over the next four years the online dating industry will begin to mature, and growth, although remaining in the double digits, is likely to begin to decline. At the same time, Mintel expects consolidation to increase in what is currently a highly fragmented market. This trend is already beginning to play out with leading French operator Meetic acquiring the European operations of match.com in January 2009. Another core trend has been the rise of free sites, which are generating large user numbers but are failing to monetise them through other means (eg advertising) as well as paid-for sites are.
Meanwhile, competition from free social networking sites is beginning to pressure the industry, with concerns that dating sites could become obsolete. This has yet to happen, as dating sites offer dating-specific services, in the same way that job sites are better for helping people search for work. Still, with a growing array of free options becoming available, paid-for dating sites will continue to have to innovate and improve their services in order to continue to justify their subscription fees. This report therefore examines the question: “is online dating replacing traditional dating in the UK?”
Has online dating really replaced traditional agencies or do they just get more press coverage?
Have consumers’ attitudes towards online dating/traditional dating agencies changed in recent years?
How has the market changed recently? For example, are more specific agencies targeting particular demographics/leisure habits etc?
How has the rise in social networking sites affected the online dating/traditional dating agencies markets?
How has the recession affected consumers’ expenditure on dating agencies (online and offline)?
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