May 16 2017
As online dating services continue to gain popularity, and the concept of meeting someone online becomes less taboo, revenue for dating services is expected to grow. Overall, industry revenue is expected to grow by 3.9% over the five years through 2016-17, to reach $147.2 million.
Dating services tend to target people aged 25 to 34. Most established online dating services derive revenue from a subscription model, where members pay a fee to communicate with other members and access a range of services. However, most mobile dating app operators do not charge membership fees. Instead, they rely on revenue from online advertising and from onselling information to marketing businesses. This has made it difficult for established players to remain competitive.
Launched in Australia in 2007, eHarmony Australia uses algorithms that match members based on their interests. The firm aims to help members seeking long-term relationships. This is in contrast to many mobile dating apps that have developed a reputation for promoting casual encounters. While eHarmony is based in the United States, Australia is the firm’s largest market apart from its home market, supplying about 10% of the company’s global revenue in 2016.
RSVP.com.au targets a similar demographic, with its services tailored to individuals looking for long-term relationships. Founded in 1997 as the first online dating site in Australia, RSVP is jointly owned by newspaper publishing group Fairfax Media Limited and Ten Network Holdings Limited. In June 2014, the joint-owners agreed to merge RSVP with Oasis Active, another Australian online dating business.
In 2016-17, online dating made up 46.4% of revenue for dating services, followed by mobile dating services, which contributed 24.9% of revenue. Dating applications for smart phones and tablets have made dating more accessible. With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, numerous mobile dating apps, such as US-based Tinder, have entered the Australian market.
Time-poor consumers and a cultural shift in attitudes relating to online dating have driven the popularity of online dating. The popularity of online shopping has also made Australians more comfortable with making payments online, which many online dating services require.
The dating services industry is forecast to continue to grow over the next five years, with industry revenue anticipated to reach $171.8 million in 2021-22. Australians are dating for longer as many focus on their careers and delay marriage. The industry is likely to encounter ongoing competition from overseas players, particularly among online dating apps. To stay competitive, Australian operators must provide the technology and features best suited to their target demographic.
Fairfax Media Limited (RSVP.com.au)
eHarmony Australia Pty Limited