Dating businesses need a stronger value proposition for the under 24s

Worth over $2 billion globally, the growth of the online dating industry has proved that traditional attitudes to dating are changing, with more and more people going online to find love. New research from Pew Research Center shows that the usage of online dating sites has nearly tripled among 18 to 24 year olds in the last two years.

It’s no surprise that the uptake in online dating usage has grown in the last 12 months; in January alone, we saw a 53% uplift in new paying subscribers across our network. But it is positive to note that online dating usage among 18–24 year olds — a group who have historically rejected online dating — has increased so dramatically that this demographic now more likely to use dating apps than any other age group.

A survey that we ran in association with our newest dating site,SomethingSerious.com, found that 48% of people believe the ideal age to start a serious relationship is between 17–25. This, coupled with Pew’s findings that 62% think online dating allows people to find a better match, clearly identifies that there is a world in which millennials would pay for online dating.

Pew’s research also shows that online dating use is more common among college graduates compared to those with only a high school diploma or less, which is also likely to mean they have more disposable income — or money available to spend on investing in finding a new relationship.

The evidence that young adults are becoming increasingly receptive to using dating products presents brands with new opportunity to target this group in a more deliberate and considered way.

We have talked frequently about the need for online dating products to have a sustainable revenue stream in place from inception to survive in this competitive market place. To survive, products that target millennials need to find a way to demonstrate the benefits of paying for a subscription and investing in their dating experience.

For this to happen, dating businesses need to think about the value proposition that they create for their millennial consumers.

A subscription to an online dating site or app could cost less per day than a flat white, a pint or a sandwich, plus it’s also much safer than meeting someone in a bar and using a paid site increases the chances of meeting their soulmate.

But consumers won’t know the value in paying for a dating service unless we show them.

For dating businesses to truly appeal to the next generation of online daters, while generating a sustainable revenue stream, our value proposition needs to change.