Technology

A new wave of dating apps is taking cues from TikTok and Gen Z


Can the epidemic She’s Doomed to Online Dating Instead, singles are sending hits more than ever. Penalties for in-person meetings led to the adoption of new products, such as video dating, and convinced more people to pay for premium features. In general, it was for the industry year chart.

“The acceptance and normalization of online dating was already underway before Covid-19,” says John Madigan, an analyst at business research firm IBISWorld, but the tailwinds from the pandemic have accelerated growth. In the next four years, IBISWorld predicts that the global online dating industry will increase in value from $5.3 billion to $6.4 billion.

Wherever there is money – or at least its smell – there are startups as well. In the United States, at least 50 dating companies were established between 2019 and 2021, according to data from Crunchbase. Although this rate has not changed much over the past decade, the total amount of funding has grown. These new startups represent some fresh ideas in the dating field, and the hope of the next dating unicorn after a year of solitude.

For the most part, newer dating apps focus on Generation Z, a demographic that has grown up in the post-Tinder world and accounts for the lion’s share of the industry’s expected revenue. Snack, which bills itself as a sort of “TikTok meets Tinder”, invites users to upload short videos of potential matches to scroll through. As well lolly, an app that lets you “match with people while you explore great video content”. Mark Bajajian, 22-year-old founder of Lolly says the app’s focus on video gives its users a better online dating experience. “You can be funny, you can be interesting, you can be talented, and you can show it all in a video, in a way that you can’t do with your photos.”

Feel It also features a collection of short videos in profiles, where people are meant to express themselves in more dimensions. It’s being marketed as an “anti-dating app” for people who think “swiping is boring” and that platforms like Tinder are too superficial. Laurent de Tapol, co-founder of Feels, says the app has attracted 150,000 users since its launch in April. He also acknowledges that most of these users will also create accounts on major apps like Tinder and Hinge, if they don’t already have profiles on them. But de Tabol hopes people will be drawn to the experience on Feels, “where they can share more about who they are, what they love, and express their very unique personality.”

Other dating apps avoid pictures entirely. lex, a dating app for “gay, transgender, non-conforming, transgender, non-binary people” inspired by journalistic personalities: its profiles use text only. synchronized until, based in London, matches people based on their Myers-Briggs personality type.

Singles may be ready for some new ideas in dating, but these startups will largely be competing with each other — not with the whales of the industry. one company Match group, behind the biggest online dating brands including Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid and Match; Together, they account for nearly a third of the market, according to October 2020 Report From IBISWorld. eHarmony controls another 12 percent. The rest is divided into about 2,000 dating companies, the majority of which operate with “less than 1 percent market share”. For the most part, the little guys compete with each other, doing little to dislodge the Match Group as the dominant player.

This is one of the reasons why investors are reluctant to fund dating startups. Andrew Chen, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, summed up several others in 2015 Blog post: It’s hard to retain users, there’s turbulence built in, and profitable exits are unusual. 2019 analysis by Crunchbase I found that while there were a number of newcomers to the online dating field, venture capital didn’t follow. Without much support from investors, dating startups have a harder time competing with the bigger players.



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