Global Love Report – Jan 15, 2020
Written by: Jamie Lee
When someone laments that they are single, chances are their friends would say, “Have you tried out Tinder?”
Since the start of Tinder in 2012, dating has never been the same. Dating apps have taken over the single world by storm and in a latest report by the Financial Times, 39% of heterosexual American couples find their partner through dating apps and sites. Even with the advent of online dating, there is actually another part of the dating industry that has been steadily growing on the backdrop – the offline dating industry.
The offline dating industry existed decades before the internet came into being especially with cultures such as Jewish, Japanese, Chinese and Indian that have a strong offline matchmaking influence lasting for centuries in their respective histories.
Even outside these cultures, there have been thousands of dating agencies, matchmakers and singles event operating even before the first online dating sites came into existence.
There are many questions that can be asked of the offline dating industry:
- How has offline dating held up to online dating and apps in today’s context? Is it still relevant?
- What is its future and relevancy as dating apps’s technology and user experience improve especially with A.I. in the next 10, 20 to 30 years?
- On a nostalgic note, what was the offline dating industry like before internet dating came about and what’s the difference now and then?
These are of course big questions and the results from predicting the future has never been particularly accurate even by experts. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the present and discuss the current state of the offline dating industry and share our thoughts on the near future of the offline dating industry.
The worldwide offline dating industry is estimated to be around US$3.4 billion in size and growing at around the rate of 3% to 4% per annum. In Asia, the offline dating industry is bigger than the online dating industry. Offline dating is also growing fast in the United States.
The offline dating industry can largely broken up into 3 segments, which are one-on-one matchmaking, singles events and date coaching.
In many regions, the one to one matchmaking and dating agency market is growing and led by many passionate individuals with small to mid sized teams. These businesses tend to range in their pricing with ranging from low to mid thousands (US$) per package to tens of thousands (US$) per package with a few players catering to the extreme high end of a few hundred thousands (US$) as well. The businesses are nowhere near the size of the large online dating players. Many of these businesses have decent media coverage and and digital marketing spending (many employing search engine marketing techniques) to get new clients while longer established businesses and good track record have word of mouth and referrals providing a reliable source of leads for their business.
The singles event market is plagued by the same problem everywhere in the world. Small and non-scalable revenues resulting in most businesses focusing on such a business model finding it difficult to sustain itself in the medium and long run. Hence we see single events to be in decline all across the world except the only country that bucking the trend which is Japan. Japan has perhaps the largest speed dating for professionals markets in which thousands of such events run monthly resulting in significant revenues and market size as compared with everywhere else. It is hence not surprising Japan’s singles event market has the strongest system and technologies employed for the singles event segment in the world to date. Elsewhere, single events are largely done by other offline dating and even online dating businesses largely for marketing, engagement and cross-selling purposes but almost never as a key revenue driver.
Date coaching market is a fast growing segment of the offline dating market, spurred on by dating and relationship “how to” YouTube channels, books/ebook, high coverage by the media and even helped also by the whole pickup artist phenomenon (though of course most date coaches employ very different ethos as compared to the PUA segment). There is a growing awareness among singles that getting plenty of dates and matches is simply not enough but knowing how to best deal with the matches and dates increases results for them.
𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐮𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐆𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐭𝐡 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐎𝐟𝐟𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐈𝐧𝐝𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐲
- #1 Dating App Fatigue: Enough people are frustrated with online dating apps/sites and its problems of falsification, scammers, ghosting and many other related problems. Hence some of these frustrated singles will seek out alternative options or services after getting used to the thought of using a 3rd party/platform to find matches and dates.
- #2: High Effort and Time-consuming: Online dating is actually really time consuming and requires a consistent effort to get results which means offline matching and dating services which lightens the workload to find a date or provides convenience and ease for singles would always have decent demand, especially for those are more time-strapped.
- #3 Personal Human Touch: Offline service offers more a personalised and high human touch and connection to single’s dating life whether a friendly face to face talk or a chat over the phone. Naturally this would emotionally resonate better when it comes to dating and love for many people versus the colder and less personalised experience of using dating apps which are essentially a self-service experience.
The offline dating industry do received some media attention and mention but currently still stands in the shadow of the online dating apps market in comparison despite its growth and decent size market revenues, especially in the US, South Asia and East Asia.
In future articles, we would be covering individual segments more detailed you and touching base on the latest trends and challenges faced by each individual offline dating segment and potential synergies between each different segment.
We hope you enjoyed this first article by us and please do comment and give us the necessary feedback so we can improve and let us know what do you want covered in the future.
Have a great week ahead!