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Online Dating - UK - January 2015

“The abuse that is directed principally towards women on online dating websites and apps, along with issues of safety, has received increased publicity over the last few years. Dating sites/apps need to explore more ways to combat these issues to avoid them causing significant damage to the industry.”

Rebecca McGrath, Research Analyst

The report answers the following questions:

  • Will free dating apps be able to successfully monetise?
  • Could online abuse hurt the industry?
  • How to prevent the problem of misleading profiles?

The online dating market has continued to experience strong growth over the last five years. The influx and popularity of dating apps, such as Tinder, Grindr and Hinge, have had a significant impact, opening up online dating to new users. Going forward, how successfully free dating apps can monetise their products will be very important for industry growth.

Further challenges include tackling market problems in regards to safety, information protection, false profiles and scamming. Abuse directed towards women online has gained more prominence in recent years and if unchecked could be a potentially very damaging issue for the industry. With much of the earlier stigma surrounding online dating gone, the principle challenges are around ensuring the experience offered is fulfilling for users.

This report assesses the current status of the online dating industry in the UK, including the value of the market and trends and other factors likely to impact growth during the next five years. Mintel’s research also analyses consumers’ motivations for using online dating websites, as well as the remaining barriers for those who have not looked to find a partner online.

The report covers the online dating industry, including both straight and same-sex sites. However, it does not include ‘adult’ sites (such as adultfriendfinder.com), which are not included in the profiles or in the market figures.

Appearance-based and location-based matchmaking sites such as Tinder and Grindr are included within the scope of this report.

 

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Market value to grow as apps monetise
                • Figure 1: Value forecast for UK online dating market, 2009-19
              • Market drivers
                • Online Dating Association launched
                  • Number of single people on the rise
                    • Amount of online abuse directed towards women could be damaging
                      • Nearly all young people use the internet ‘on the go’ and for socialising
                        • Companies, brands and innovations
                          • Market share
                            • Figure 2: Unique visits to online dating websites, via computers, August-October 2014
                          • Who’s innovating?
                            • Users to be given grades
                              • Video-only dating website launched
                                • MySingleFriend launches MySingleTent for festival-goers
                                  • Sites get straight to the date
                                    • Antidate makes only men visible
                                      • The consumer
                                        • Over a quarter meet dates through online dating
                                          • Figure 3: Method of meeting partner/date, November 2014
                                        • Match.com most well-known site/app
                                          • Figure 4: Usage and awareness of dating websites/apps, November 2014
                                        • Some consider online dating unsafe and expensive
                                          • Figure 5: Words and phrases associated with online dating, November 2014
                                        • Majority of users willing to meet someone from a site/app
                                          • Figure 6: Attitudes towards online dating, November 2014
                                        • Friends’ usage most encouraging factor
                                          • Figure 7: Reasons for using site/app, November 2014
                                        • Many concerned about misleading profiles
                                          • Figure 8: Reasons for not using a dating website/app, November 2014
                                        • What we think
                                        • Issues and Insights

                                            • Will free dating apps be able to successfully monetise?
                                              • The facts
                                                • The implications
                                                  • Could online abuse hurt the industry?
                                                    • The facts
                                                      • The implications
                                                        • How to prevent the problem of misleading profiles?
                                                          • The facts
                                                            • The implications
                                                            • Trend Application

                                                                • Trend: Guiding Choice
                                                                  • Trend: Extend my Brand
                                                                    • Mintel Futures: Human
                                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Income squeeze reduces
                                                                          • Figure 9: Income squeeze, January 2009-September 2014
                                                                        • Number of single people on the rise
                                                                          • Vast majority of 16-24s use social networking
                                                                            • Figure 10: Internet activities in the last three months, by age, August 2014
                                                                          • Young people access internet ‘on the go’
                                                                            • Figure 11: Accessing the internet ‘on the go’ in the last three months by portable device types, by age, August 2014
                                                                          • Online Dating Association launched
                                                                            • Safety concerns key
                                                                              • Sites ‘experimenting’ on their users
                                                                                • Amount of online abuse directed towards women could be damaging
                                                                                  • World Cup boosts Tinder usage
                                                                                  • Who's Innovating?

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Users to be given grades
                                                                                        • Male users asked to sign ‘Gentlemen Pledge’
                                                                                          • Video-only dating website launched
                                                                                            • Sites get straight to the date
                                                                                              • The League is an invite-only app
                                                                                                • Bumble puts girls in charge
                                                                                                  • Antidate makes only men visible
                                                                                                    • MySingleFriend launches MySingleTent for festival-goers
                                                                                                    • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Market value to grow as apps monetise
                                                                                                          • Figure 12: Value of the UK online dating market, 2009-19
                                                                                                        • Forecast
                                                                                                          • Figure 13: Value forecast for UK online dating market, 2009-19
                                                                                                        • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                        • Market Share

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Plenty of Fish biggest site in terms of computer hits
                                                                                                              • Figure 14: Visits to online dating websites via computers, August-October 2014
                                                                                                          • Companies and Products

                                                                                                              • eHarmony
                                                                                                                • Grindr
                                                                                                                  • Guardian Soulmates
                                                                                                                    • Match.com
                                                                                                                      • OkCupid
                                                                                                                        • Plentyoffish.com
                                                                                                                          • Tinder
                                                                                                                            • Zoosk.com
                                                                                                                            • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Almost half of UK ad expenditure by match.com
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 15: Top 10 dating website/apps UK advertising expenditure, 2011-14
                                                                                                                                • Zoosk.com dominates on Twitter
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 16: Twitter followers for select leading online dating websites/apps, December 2014
                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – Methods of Meeting Partners

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Over a quarter meet dates through online dating
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 17: Method of meeting partner/date, November 2014
                                                                                                                                  • 18-24s much prefer free online dating services
                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer – Usage of Dating Websites

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Match.com most well-known site/app
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Usage and awareness of dating websites/apps, November 2014
                                                                                                                                      • Tinder draws in Millennials
                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Perceptions of Online Dating

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Some consider online dating unsafe and expensive
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Words and phrases associated with online dating, November 2014
                                                                                                                                          • People don’t feel online dating is trustworthy
                                                                                                                                            • Over a fifth of over-55s think it’s not for their age group
                                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – Attitudes Towards Online Dating

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Majority of users willing to meet someone from a site/app
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Attitudes towards online dating, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                • A quarter willing to pay more for additional features
                                                                                                                                                  • Most have found that people misrepresent themselves
                                                                                                                                                    • Women can feel unsafe when meeting up
                                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – Reasons for Using

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Friends’ usage most encouraging factor
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Reason for using site/app, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                        • Adverts encourage paid dating website usage
                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Reasons for Not Using

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Many concerned about misleading profiles
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 22: Reasons for not using a dating website/app, November 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • People are concerned about scams
                                                                                                                                                              • 18-24s more likely to think it is not romantic

                                                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                              • IAC/InterActiveCorp

                                                                                                                                                              Online Dating - UK - January 2015

                                                                                                                                                              £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)