The U.S. Dating Services Industry

The U.S. Dating Services Industry

This is the ONLY in-depth business analysis that covers ALL segments of this industry, since the market has no trade association performing market research. This newly updated 7th edition study is a fascinating analysis of one of the oldest professions—matchmaking.

This market is a now a $2.5 billion business in the U.S., with online dating services soaring in popularity since 2001 and representing 70% of the market’s value. The Internet has revolutionized this business and has brought affordable and convenient matchmaking to America’s 124 million singles, via, Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, and other popular services. Mobile dating apps are exploding. Dating website revenues are expected to grow only moderately this year as the U.S. market is saturated with 1,500+ sites and everyone is chasing the same traffic. Most dating sites don’t make a profit. Venture capital funding continues, as new start-ups still believe they can make it big.

The nation’s 1,600 matchmakers and 400 dating coaches are posting moderate growth, but off-line chains and radio datelines continue to slide. Speed dating continues to be popular but is a tiny market. Phone chat lines are still around, with two large competitors dominating. Online firms are still struggling to bridge the divide with lucrative off-line services, but it continues to be challenging.

Industry consolidation continues and had an IPO. The firm also bought POF for $575 million. Several unscrupulous brick & mortar chains (Great Expectations, Together/The Right One) went out of business. Problems persist: fake online profiles, fraudulent traffic, database breaches, background checks, and privacy safeguards to protect personal information of users.

The study examines: market size/forecasts and segments from 1994 to 2020 Forecast. Separate in-depth chapters cover the markets for: Online Dating (Websites & Apps), Independent Matchmakers, Dating Coaches, Radio Datelines, Phone Chat Lines, Singles Organizations, Speed Dating, and franchises. Also: how dating services operate—typical models/revenues/fees/profits.

Competitor profiles for:, eHarmony, Spark Networks, Snap Interactive, Tinder, Meetic, It’s Just Lunch, Plenty of Fish, Teligence, Quest Personals, The Matchmaking Institute, Pre-Dating, Hurry Date, 8 Minute Dating, 10 top matchmakers, 11 top dating coaches, more.

Introduction - Study Scope, Methodology, Sources Used
Executive Overview of Major Findings
Highlights of ALL study chapters: Discussion of industry structure, status as of 2015 vs. 2012, performance & major developments and trends since 2012, discussion growth of mobile apps, Industry consolidation, opinions of market consultants, customer dissatisfactions, factors affecting demand, how services operate/avg. receipts, customer demographics, industry $ size/growth: 1991-2020 F, main market segments $ value (2005-2015F), separate outlooks for: dating websites (2002-2020 sales), off-line chains, matchmakers (income statement), dating coaches, personal ads, radio datelines, speed dating, phone chat lines, how services operate, regulatory actions/image problems, industry structure/2012 Census key ratios national snapshot.
Industry Size and Growth
Historical size/growth of the industry, industry status now vs. 20 yrs. ago
Discussion of lack of official industry data, past estimates by trade groups/rationale.
Market status and summary: $ size of the industry in 2012, 2015, 2020 forecast, performance During recession year 2009,
Marketdata’s past predictions – which came true, which were wrong - discussion.
2009-2011 Market Performance- key trends, discussion of $ size of market, off-line vs. online services’ growth
2012-2015 performance, 2020 Forecast: dating websites, apps
2012-2015 performance, 2020 Forecast: independent matchmakers, dating coaches
2012-2015 performance, 2020 Forecast: phone chat lines
2012-2015 performance, 2020 Forecast: other off-line services
Total market size: 1991-2020 Forecast.
Historical & forecasted total market size in $ (1991-2020 F)
Value of industry segments: 2012, 2015, 2020 F (dating websites/online, matchmakers, dating coaches, phone chat lines, radio datelines, singles events, speed dating, all other services)
The major off-line chains (no. of offices, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2015: Great Expectations, Together, Matchmakers Intl., It’s Just Lunch).
Online Dating Services
Status report: key facts regarding users of online dating, apps usage, dater demographics
Major market developments since 2012, list (Match IPO, POF acquisition, Ashley Madison scandal, etc.)
Findings from speakers at 2016 iDate Miami, FL conference, prospects for new start-ups, funding.
positives & negatives of online services vs. alternative dating services
Evolution and past strong growth of online dating, advantages & disadvantages to the user, reasons for growth, estimated no. of Americans using online dating
Limitations & problems related to dating websites: discussion (fake profiles, traffic fraud, billing)
Trade associations - discussion, profiles of existing groups (Internet Dating Executive Alliance/Idea Oasis, International Assn. of Dating Websites)
Lack of uniform industry metrics/yardsticks - analysis (registered users, unique visitors, members, paid subscribers)
Market size & growth: estimates of online dating revenues by Piper Jaffray & Co. analyst for 2007-2012, performance during last recession: comments by competitors & analysts
Marketdata’s estimates of size of online dating market: 2001-2015 F, analysis of impact of the recession, why it may have actually helped, recovery since then.
Marketdata assessment of 2014-2015 mkt. growth & key developments
Niche dating websites, type found, by religion, list of top niche dating sites
Adult sites – discussion of faster growth.
List of top reporters covering the industry
Rankings of top 15 U.S. dating sites, by Experian Hitwise
$ size of the online dating market: 2001-2020 Forecast
Estimated market share by:, eHarmony, Yahoo Personals, Spark Networks, FriendFinder Networks: 2004-2015.
List of the major niche dating websites.
Competitor Profiles (headquarters, website, how the service works, cost, no. of paid subscribers vs. registered users, profile of its customers, related services, recent mergers/acquisitions, recent company developments, estd. or actual company revenues to 2015, projections, mgmt. opinions, etc.). In-depth profiles for following companies… (incl. Plenty of Fish, Yahoo Personals, Meetic, Tinder)
Spark Networks
Snap Interactive
The Matchmakers Market
How matchmakers operate: summary & discussion, why they’re doing well today.
Market size & status report: estimated number of matchmakers in the U.S., average revenues per matchmaker, findings of interviews with top matchmakers, recent trends
Estimated income/expense statement, profit margins for solo operators/multi-office operations
2016 matchmakers survey – results of Matchmaking Institute survey (income, number of clients, staff, fees, competition, websites, offices, marketing methods, use of social media, background checks, date coaching, top 5 markets—comparison to 2009 survey)
Estimated avg. matchmaker income/P&L statement, profit margins
The Matchmaking Institute: role, training & certification of new matchmakers
Industry trade association: discussion of past efforts to form The National Association of Ethical & Professional Matchmakers, other efforts, ethical guidelines.
Size of the market for matchmakers & dating coaches, 2012-2015 estimates, 2020 forecasts
Dating Coaches: how they operate, fees, competition with matchmakers, growing popularity.
Profiles of Some of the Top U.S. Independent Matchmakers
(For matchmakers profiled below… an in-depth discussion and description of how they operate, services, typical fees, clients served, specializations, address or phone and website. Findings of Marketdata phone interviews, opinions on status of the market.)
Leora Hoffman Associates
Kailen Rosenberg
Zelda Fischer (Gentle People Ltd,)
Barbie Adler (Selective Search Inc.)
Irene Valenti (Valenti International)
Lisa Ronis Personal Matchmaking
Kelleher & Associates)
Dianne Bennett
Samantha Daniels
Patti Stanger
Bonnie Wills
The Date Coaching Market
How date coaches operate, fees, programs, what they do, working with matchmakers, market structure, publicity, why some coaches make $500,00 and others $30,000/year.
Estimated market size
Profiles of some leading dating coaches (Evan Marc Katz, Susan Rabin, Susan Bradley, Annie Gleason, Jeannine Kaiser, Nancy Slotnick, Janice Bennett, David Wygant, Elizabeth Macinnis, Barbara Elgin, Lisa Shield, Patti Feinstein, Matt Titus, Lauren Francis).
The Personal Ads, Radio Datelines, & Phone Chat Lines Market
Summary: what’s includes, why most of these services are declining or flat
Print personals - discussion of market characteristics, status report & relationship between newspapers running the ads, automated voicemail system providers they use, and long distance phone companies, avg. cost per 900 number call, cost to responders to ad vs. those placing them, why personals are popular vs. other methods.
$ Size of the Personal Ads Market: discussion/analysis of decline of the market, past media estimates, personal ads’ share of total 900/976 number call volume, Marketdata estimates & forecasts of personals mkt. size, 2001, 2012-2015, 2020 F outlook, based on phone interviews, inherent problems/limitations of personal ads.
Radio Station Datelines: status report & discussion/analysis of popularity of radio automated “datelines”, Status Report: The leading providers of Interactive Voicemail Systems today, effect of online dating services as main contributor to decline in this market, comments by management regarding withdrawal from market by competitors, profiles of two companies left: Spark Network Services and Telepublishing International.
Singles Phone Chat Lines: Nature & status of the market, estimated size, profiles of Teligence, Quest, why there is still a need for these services, timeline of technology—party lines, 900 numbers, rise of the Internet, scams/company greed, players exit, $ mkt. size
Other off-line services (speed dating, franchises, singles events)
Summary & definition of “off-line” or “traditional” bricks & mortar dating services with physical offices, the franchises and major chains.
Market $ size & status report: 2012-2015 performance, closure of office of GE and Together chains
Singles organizations and events, IADW, Rich Gosse interview regarding status, “Stir” events
Speed Dating market: status, estd. $ size, no. of events held nationwide, avg. revenue per event, findings of interview with Dan Gudema at Pre-Dating Co., profiles of competitors: Minute Dating, Hurry date.
Profiles of Great Expectations & Together Chains: why they went out of business
History of these competitors, no. of offices/revenues in past years, operating model used, comments & observations of former owners/employees/customers, actions by State Attorney General’s offices, cost per acquisition, marketing methods, profit margins, avg. receipts per office, dubious sales/marketing practices, company history, owners.
Table: The 4 major chains, by no. of offices and revenues, 2003, 2011, 2015.
Competitor Profiles (headquarters, website, how the service works, no. of offices, fees charged, no. of customers, profile of its customers, franchising, avg. gross sales potential per office, typical profit margins, expenses, marketing methods, recent mergers/acquisitions, recent company developments, estd. or actual company revenues, mgmt. opinions, etc). In-depth profiles for following companies…
It’s Just Lunch
Great Expectations
Together Dating Service /The Right One, eLove
Industry Economic Structure & Operating Ratios
Summary & analysis of 2012 Census survey (latest available): the dating services industry NAICS code, no. of establishments in the U.S., national receipts, payroll costs, key ratios (avg. receipts per estab., avg. receipts per company, avg. receipts/payroll per employee), select state data: receipts & estabs.
Analysis of legal form of organization of dating services (% of establishments & receipts by: corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships – 2007, 2002, 1997
Analysis by industry concentration levels: top 4, 8, 20, 50 firms – 2007, 2002, 1997
Analysis by single & multi-unit operations – 2007, 2002, 1997
Analysis & ratios, by receipts size of companies – 2007, 2002, 1997
Analysis & ratios, by receipts size of establishments – 2007, 2002, 1997
2012 industry snapshot: Number of dating services, national receipts, avg. receipts per estab., Payroll as % receipts: 15 yr. trend, 2012, 2007, 2002, 1997
Ratios, by legal form of organization – 2007, 2002, 1997 (no. of estabs., firms, payroll as % receipts, receipts by type)
Ratios, by industry concentration levels (market share): top 4, 8, 20, 50 firms – 2007, 2002, 1997
Ratios, by single & multi-unit operations (ratios as above) – 2007, 2002, 1997
Ratios, by receipts size of companies (as above, 11 classes-under $100K-$100 mill. – 2007, 2002, 1997
Ratios, by receipts size of establishments (as above, 11 classes-under $100K-$100 mill.) – 2007, 2002, 1997.
Reference Directory of Industry Trade Associations & Information Sources
List of dating service industry trade associations, conferences, consultants and experts, research papers, analyst reports, etc. -- address & phones.

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