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Dating apps are getting a lot of love, but they have a long way to go before making any profit

“Log kya kahenge!” Dramatic as it sounds, this is how a media professional Vaidehi Khanna’s parents reacted on hearing that she found a man she wanted to marry on a dating app. Quietly, the 26-year-old had created a profile on Hinge, an app owned by the $2-billion Match Group, and had been browsing profiles and going on dates for a few months.

Taru Kapoor, GM-India, Tinder and Match Group

“My parents’ checklist for my life partner was well-educated and high-salaried boy from our caste and religion. But I was looking for more nuanced personality traits such as honesty and broad-mindedness,” she says. After her parents’ initial shock, they were concerned about the app’s reliability. “They took a while to warm up to our relationship, and meeting my partner finally helped us seal the deal,” she gushes.

Khanna’s story isn’t unique. Dating apps are popular now. “In a matter of six years, dating as a concept has seen not arithmetic, but geometric progression in India. These apps are soon going to be the norm,” says N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA Research. While matrimony apps are bigger in terms of user base and revenue, Google’s year in search 2018 revealed that queries related to matrimony grew by only 13% while those for dating grew by 37%.

Sensing an opportunity in the Indian market, international players have pitched their tent here. They include Match Group’s Tinder, Hinge and OKCupid, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas-backed Bumble. Domestic players include Truly Madly, Aisle, Andwemet and Sirf Coffee. In all, there are close to 25 such cupids flying about (See: Hitting it off). According to Statista, online dating market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2%, to $77 million by 2024 (See: Where is the love?). 

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