The dating app business has seen tremendous growth over the last decade. Once viewed as a niche industry, online dating is now a mainstream way to meet potential partners.
The future of dating apps looks bright, with forecasts predicting continued growth in users and revenue. Here are some predictions and trends to watch in the future of the online dating app sector.
Continued Growth in Users
Online dating has become hugely popular these days! Apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge are mainstream now. More and more people are getting comfortable using their phones to find relationships and hookups. This trend is only going to keep growing over the next few years.
● The projections for the future of online dating in the U.S. show massive growth ahead. The number of users is expected to jump from around 25 million today to over 37 million by 2028. That’s pretty wild growth!
● Globally, dating apps hit over 337 million users last year. With so many people across different ages and demographics using these apps, those numbers will keep increasing.
● A big reason driving this growth is millennials and Gen Z. As they enter their 20s and 30s, the prime dating years, their comfort with app dating will take the industry to the next level. These generations have always lived with smartphones, so swiping right on an app to find a date comes naturally.
Evolution of Business Models
The business models behind today’s top dating apps provide intriguing examples for startups. Tinder’s business model pioneered the “freemium” model, offering free access but monetizing through optional premium subscriptions. Other apps have followed suit or pursued subscription-only access.
Looking forward, we may see evolution and innovation around business models in this sector:
● More niche apps with specialized target audiences could pursue subscription-only models.
● Ad-supported free tiers may become more common, especially for newer apps seeking to grow user bases quickly.
● Partnerships with other brands and platforms could drive new revenue streams.
● Predictive analytics and artificial intelligence enable apps to refine their monetization strategies.
However, on the other side, the cost to build a dating app can vary widely based on features and complexity. However, expect an initial investment of at least $20,000 for a basic viable product with core functionality. For a fully scaled app with complex matching algorithms and robust feature sets, costs can exceed $500,000.
Specialized Dating Apps Will Emerge
While apps like Tinder cast a wide net, new dating apps tailored to specific niches and demographics will likely emerge. Some possibilities include:
● Dating apps for various religious or ethnic groups
● Dating apps for geeks/fandom members
● Dating apps for singles with children
● Dating apps for older users
● Dating apps for LGBTQ users will expand and specialize
Catering to these specialized audiences could enable newer apps to differentiate themselves in a crowded market. However, they will need unique monetization strategies to succeed.
Location-Based Features Will Become More Prevalent
Location-based technology already powers mainstay features like proximity search on many dating apps. We’ll likely see this taken even further in future dating apps:
● More apps may enable real-time location sharing for nearby date opportunities or live events.
● “Hot spot” features could point users to popular local date locations.
● Integrations with ride-sharing or transit apps could streamline real-world meetups.
● Grouping features around shared locations like schools or workplaces could bolster connections.
Location technology provides a valuable context in dating, enabling more organic real-world interactions. However, we can also do this. As an experienced app development company for startups, we leverage our technical expertise to help startups build and launch mobile apps on budget and on time. With full-stack developers, UI/UX designers, and project managers, we are an ideal IT partner for early-stage companies that need to get an MVP to market quickly.
Video and Live Streaming May Play Bigger Roles
Features like live streaming and video chat could also unlock new engagement techniques for dating apps:
● Short video profiles could showcase personalities before matching.
● Live events or special guest streams could ramp up the excitement.
● Speed date or video chat features could enable screening before dates.
● Streaming integration facilitates virtual dates to build comfort levels.
As video continues to explode online, dating apps have opportunities to leverage it in smart, selective ways while ensuring user safety.
Social Media-Style Features Will Emerge
We may also see dating apps adopt some of the tactics that have fueled major social media apps:
● Activity feeds, stories, and other news stream features could strengthen the on-app community and increase stickiness.
● Hashtag systems enable themed meetups and conversations around shared interests.
● More options for users to upload photos, videos, and share updates could imbue apps with a more social feel.
● Friending, group chat, and communities based around identities, interests, or locations.
Blending social networking with dating mechanics could drive richer connections for demographic groups less focused on quick swiping.
Verification and Safety Will Be Higher Priorities
As the dating app sector evolves, security and safety must remain priorities. We’re likely to see continued advancement and integration in this realm:
● ID verification requirements, background checks, or trust scores for users.
● Robust block/report systems for harassment issues.
● Using AI and machine learning to detect inappropriate or dangerous behaviors.
● Partnerships with safety organizations to implement public safety programs.
● In-app panic buttons or emergency response features.
By maximizing user protections, dating apps can create better environments for the relationships they aim to facilitate. So that we recommend unique startup app ideas differentiate themselves, identify product-market fit and build a loyal user base. Ideas should solve real problems or need a well-defined target audience.
Offline Events and Community Building
Even as dating apps move interactions online, the real-world community will remain important. We may see more dating apps hosting local live events, like:
● Singles mixers or speed dating events to help break the ice.
● Geek fandom events, comedy shows, classes, or trips for niche interest groups.
● Volunteer days are giving back to local causes that users care about.
● Parties, happy hours, or live music events to drive excitement.
Building out the community side can strengthen bonds past just potential romantic matches.
Specialized Monetization for Enterprise Users
Some dating apps have already launched special enterprise tiers for organizations like universities and residential communities. We could see them expand further into this B2B realm:
● White-labeled enterprise versions of apps for schools, companies, and neighborhoods.
● Special rates and features for large organizational partners.
● Branded marketing and sponsorship opportunities.
Enterprise solutions can tap into big new revenue streams while providing value around community building.
Final Thoughts on the Future of Dating Apps
The dating app sector has ample room for continued user growth, revenue, and innovation of features and business models. While hookup-focused apps dominate now, new niches around relationships, video, communities, interests, and inclusion will open demographically. Safety and moderation features need to keep pace to manage risks inherent to dating platforms.
Business models for startups considering the dating app space will be identifying an underserved target audience with unmet needs.
Companies should then focus on crafting a tailored user experience and monetization strategy that aligns incentives for the business and its users. With the right solutions, there is still much value to unlock in the future of the dating app business.