Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

One year ago, Tinder was one of the hottest startups in the World. The Hollywood based creator of the popular dating app was estimated to be worth billions. Its popularity was surging, topping the App Annie rankings, and analysts expected the app will have well over 50 million active users. Its parent company, IAC, went public at the end of 2015, and demand for the stock was largely driven by its Match Group division, which counts Tinder,Match.com, and OKCupid to its assets.

In IAC’s second quarter report last week, the company announced that Match Group’s dating revenue increased +23% with average paid members being up 30% at 5.3 million. Yet, it is unclear what % of those are Tinder users (but likely at or below 1 million), and how fast Tinder alone is growing.

I was talking to several of my good friends last week, all of whom were Tinder “power users” in the past. Somewhat surprising to me, they all told me they had switched to Bumble and were not using Tinder any longer…a trend that’s apparently also happening among other friends, and among friends of friends. The problem with Tinder is “it’s become trashy,” as many of my friends told me. “There is an increasing quality problem that’s causing users to move on.”

Tinder App iOS Ranking in Major Countries

Source: App Annie

Bumble on the other hand, only allows women to make the first move in a match, or as they advertise — “on Bumble, ladies hold the key.” Seemingly, this is keeping quality strong and is attracting an increasing number of ex-Tinderers to switch to Bumble.

London-based Bumble was founded and launched by ousted Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe, who sued the former company for sexual harassment and published her conversations with co-founder Justin Mateen as evidence. Bumble itself is majority owned by Badoo, a London-based unicorn which acquired Lulu, a popular app that lets women rate men, earlier this year.

Another problem on Tinder is that the Men-to-Women ratio is much higher, estimated at about 2-to-1, compared to Bumble’s estimated 1-to-1 ratio. This is important as it lowers the risk of “trashy” actions, typically initiated by men.

One year after its launch, Bumble’s user number is estimated to be at around 5 million, and growing significantly faster than Tinder. The Bumble app has gone from being ranked #1000 among US iOS apps a year ago, to #318 now, according to App Annie. There is clearly a strong uptrend, but there is also lots of territory ahead that has yet to be captured.

Online dating, which is a $2+ billion industry overall, has over 3,900 dating sites in the United States alone. And while it is not a new industry (Match.com was first launched in 1995), it is experiencing a renaissance, led by popular apps like Tinder, Bumble, Lulu, etc.

Two Megatrends are converging to fuel the growth in online dating: ubiquitous Mobile Computing and Demographics. In 1970, only 28% of American adults were single. Today, almost half (47%) are single. When IAC acquired Match.com in 1999, one in eight marriages originated online. Today, it has surged to one in three, according to a recent Nielsen study.

We are following the online dating space closely, and are especially focused on popular and fast growing apps such as Bumble and Tinder.

As published in this week’s A 2 Apple: http://www.a2apple.com/abot-time/

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