Online dating (including Matchmaking, Personals and Matrimonials) is making waves across the world. In this era of online networking, dating on the net has revolutionized the age old profession of matchmaking by making it more affordable and convenient to the masses. According to Hitwise there are more than 1,421 sites in the Lifestyle – Dating category in the US.
Online dating services started catching up in 2001 and have grown phenomenally over the next few years to emerge as a $500 million-plus industry in 2005. According to Marketdata the dating sites make up 49% of the dating services industry. At least 15% of the U.S. Internet users visit an online dating site each month. The online dating services market is expected to be $650 million by 2008.
JupiterResearch estimates that approximately 10% of Internet users visited an online dating service at least once in 2006, a fall of 6% over 2005. A study conducted by Cornell University on online dating sites found that 52.6 percent of men lied about their height and 64.1 percent of women lied about their weight. Nearly one-fourth of men lied about their age also. Industry insiders believe that the flurry of new age dating and introduction sites have earned the industry a bad name as many of them have failed to live up to the initial hype and have resulted in consumer dissatisfaction.
The European online dating sites have also been growing at a scorching pace and the number of users of dating sites has grown from 4% of total internet users in 2005 to 6% in 2006. According to JupiterResearch, the number of paid users is forecasted to rise from 2.8 million in 2006 to 6.0 million in 2011. Revenues of European online dating sites are expected to double from 243 million euros in 2006 to 549 million euros in 2011.
Online matchmaking and matrimonials is a booming industry in the developing economies of India and China. The Chinese are experiencing an online dating boom and sites like Baihe.com, Yeeyoo.com and Meetic.com.cn are experiencing phenomenal traffic growth. iResearch forecasts the Chinese online dating market to be $80 million and growing.
According to pluggd.in the Indian matchmaking and matrimonial sites had over 7 million registered users in the fiscal year 2006-07 and is projected to grow by 2.5 million to 9.5 million users by the fiscal year ended 2007-08. Some of the popular Indian matrimonial portals are Shaadi.com, Bharat Matrimony, SimplyMarry and Rediff Matchmaker.