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Tinder has revolutionized modern dating.
For millennia, meeting a partner only happened in real life. Then in 1995, Match.com launched as the first online dating site.
Online dating has taken years to grow in popularity and overcome the cultural barriers that once stood in its way.
But with the explosion of smartphones in the 2010s, it was time for another revolution. In 2012, Tinder opened up with a beta launch. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today we’ll be exploring the stats and data behind one of the the first—and certainly one of the most popular—dating apps in history. We’ll cover details on who uses Tinder, how they interact with the app, and what type of revenue Tinder generates.
We’ll wrap up by comparing it with many of its competitors in the field of dating apps.
Let’s get started!
Let’s start with the first and most basic question—who’s using Tinder?
According to research by We Are Flint, it’s about one in five US men, and one in ten US women of adults aged 18+ who use Tinder.
The numbers are also heavily skewed towards younger age brackets, with one-third of respondents age 18-24 on the app, compared with one-fourth of respondents aged 25-34, and one-fifth of respondents aged 35-44.
And when it comes to income, users tend to be slightly more affluent, with 20% of earners in the top three household income brackets—$100k, 80k+, and $70k+—saying they’re on the dating app.
Finally, Tinder is far more prevalent in the city, with 16% of urban dwellers claiming to be on the app, compared to only 9% of rural respondents.
The app is slightly less popular in the UK, with an equal number of women, yet only 13% of men, claiming to use the app.
In general, numbers across the board in Britain are lower, though still trending in the same directions as US users.
Between 11-15% of the top four income brackets—£2k1+, £28k+, £34k+, and £48k+—are also on Tinder, more than the two lower brackets (up to £14k and £14k-21k).
Similarly, urban destinations are more popular than rural, and 21% of professionally employed brits—with social grade A, B, or C1—are on the app, compared with just 6% of grades C2, D, and E.
The most consistent trend across Tinder, and dating apps in general, is that men are far more likely to be on the service than women.
While 2019 data isn’t available on Tinder, in 2016 the app’s users in the US were about two-thirds male, or a 2:1 ratio of men to women.
And this basic data plays out to the typical distribution of dating apps across all online users, not just on Tinder.
In the US, men are more likely to have used a dating service than women, with 10% of US men and 5% of US women agreeing that they’re currently on a dating app or website.
Notably, the numbers are much closer when asked about past use on a dating app or site, with 27% of men and 22% agreeing they’ve done so in the past.
This seems to indicate another trend across dating websites and apps, especially on Tinder. While both men and women sign up, women are far more likely to stop using the app.
We mentioned earlier that Tinder tends towards younger demographics, which holds true for all dating websites and apps, as of 2019.
What’s notable is that this seems to be a trend that’s been happening across multiple years. The reason? The middle bracket aged 35-54 are the most likely to say they’ve done so in the past.
This could indicate that these users—some of whom would have been in the younger bracket in the early days of Tinder, and all of whom would have been in that age during the early days of online dating—used those platforms when younger.
So, why don’t the older generations tend to use platforms like Tinder?
One of the reasons is likely a cultural influence. While apps have become indispensable for younger generations, older groups might not see the possibility of finding a match on an app.
This data can be seen relatively easily by looking at users’ likelihood to use a dating app or website to find a new partner.
With one exception (18-29 year-olds being the top category to answer “not very likely”), the numbers are nearly perfectly aligned by age.
Younger groups said they’d be “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to use a dating app or website, with 45-62% of older demographics saying they were “not likely at all.”
Whichever reason it is, Tinder users are overwhelmingly young. Research on Tinder’s age distribution in 2015 showed that 60% of the users were aged 18-24.
And with this younger demographic, we can also see influences on what Tinder users are looking for.
Now that we have a good understanding of the types of people that are on Tinder, what does their behavior look like?
Let’s break down the expectations, perceptions, and results that come into play with Tinder’s ever-growing user base.
The first and most obvious question we need to ask is what these users are looking for. While the traditional view is that dating apps—but Tinder in particular—are just for hookups, the reality simply doesn’t hold this to be true.
In fact, among dating app users in the United States in 2019, “finding an exclusive romantic partner” is the most common result, with with 49% of respondents in agreement.
The answers aligned with typical motives associated with dating apps—“have casual sex” and “find non-exclusive romantic partners”—were selected by 23% and 20% of respondents, respectively.
Surprisingly, a full 7% of respondents said they were on a dating site or app to “cheat on my significant other.”
It’s worth noting recipients could select multiple answers, so the percentages don’t add up to 100%.
When this survey data is broken down by age, the answers certainly show predictable trends based on the demographics we looked at earlier.
Specifically, casual reasons for using the app were more strongly associated with 18-34-year-olds, only slightly associated with 34-55-year-olds, and least associated with those over age 55.
Notably, 0% of those over 55 indicated they were on an app to cheat.
And finally, one more breakdown can provide some extra insight into the study: by gender.
Stereotypes would indicate that men are more likely to look for casual sex or non-exclusive partners, and the results do show that men are 2-3 times more likely than women to look for these type of relationships.
However, finding an exclusive romantic partner is still the single biggest reason for both genders to use a dating platform, with 51% of women and 47% of men choosing it.
When it comes to perceptions of dating apps, there’s a huge disparity between what people think about those who use said apps versus those who don’t.
This gap in perceptions has been dubbed the “dating app disconnect,” due to the mostly negative perceptions by those who haven’t used such apps versus those who have.
The biggest positive difference is that dating apps are “interesting,” with a gap of 29% between users of dating apps and non-users.
The next-biggest difference was that such apps and sites are “dangerous,” with a gap of 19%, with 29% of users in agreement, compared with 48% of non-users, the most common response amongst those who don’t use dating apps.
The reason for this seems to be fairly obvious when we look at how people judge their experience on apps. Of those who have used dating apps, 47% have had a “very positive” or “somewhat positive” experience.
In contrast, only 19% have had a “very negative” or “somewhat negative” experience.
Unsurprisingly, men tend to have a better experience than women—though one in three men and one and three women said their experience was neutral.
The biggest problems with dating apps, based on 2018 survey data, is untruthful identities and being contacted in ways that make the user feel uncomfortable, with approximately one in three dating app users having experienced one or both of these.
Broken down by gender men are more likely to encounter someone lying about their identity, while women are more likely to be contacted in a way that makes them uncomfortable.
While these are certainly problems facing Tinder, they don’t seem to be stopping its growth. The overall positive experience of users likely helps lead to its continued success.
We now have a general idea of what people are looking for when they sign up for a dating app like Tinder.
But where do matches end up? While Tinder doesn’t market itself as an app for “finding your soul mate” as do other services, where do users tend to take things offline?
Thankfully, a recent 2018 survey provides answers. The single most common result on a dating website or app is going on one or more dates with someone, but presumably not having a relationship that lasts much longer.
Of dating app or service users, 31% said this was the extent of their connection. The next-most-common was finding a long-term romantic partner, with nearly one in four agreeing.
Finally, 14% said they found a hookup through a dating app or service and 9% a platonic friendship.
Earlier data suggested 49% sought a relationship, 23% a hookup, and 19% a platonic friendship.
By combining these two statistics, we can get an idea of what actually happens on these apps. The data indicate that hookups are the easiest goal to fulfill on the site, with percentages suggesting 60% who seek hookups eventually find them.
The search for a relationship or platonic friendship is more difficult, with slightly less than half (47% of both categories) finding the type of interaction they were looking for.
So while users are most likely to say they’re looking for a relationship, those out for something more casual tend to do better on such apps.
And before we wrap up this section, let’s look at one more interesting tidbit from a 2019 survey.
When asked how they researched a match before meeting in person, 60% of Americans admitted to looking at social media profiles and 55% for searching their name online.
A surprising one in seven—15% of respondents—said they had run a background check on potential partners before physically meeting them.
When we look at how people meet partners on dating sites and apps, the numbers present a paradox.
Despite being far more men on these platforms than women, men are over 50% more likely to find a partner on a dating app or site than women. Yet if they were matched on the same apps, shouldn’t the responses of men and women be roughly equivalent?
But why? There are three possible explanations.
The first theory is that discrepancy comes from same-sex matches. This would indicate that one-third of men’s matches are with other men. While this could be the case, it doesn’t seem to fit the overall demographics of men in the dating market very well.
The second (and probably more likely) explanation is that a broader selection of men is more likely to match with a narrower selection of women. In other words, 20% of men are matching with 13% of women.
Women tend to be more selective than men in dating apps. But for those who aren’t, there are simply more options and potential partners.
Finally, it could be that women are less likely to confirm finding a partner on apps. This could be due to social stigma or a difference in terms.
In other words, men might consider a single date or hookup as “meeting a romantic partner,” whereas women might not.
While Tinder takes large data samples and is able to predict profile success, there don’t appear to be any secret factors contributing to highly-effective profiles.
But that might not be the most helpful data, anyways, since many of the data provided on dating profiles like on Tinder isn’t even accurate.
One notable statistic is that according to a US study, only 60% of respondents say they “always present themselves truthfully” on dating profiles.
When it comes to types of profiles, trends are easy to spot. In fact, Tinder has published the most common features of 2018 in their “The Year in Swipe” data.
For the most part, top songs and trends of 2018 show up in profiles, including Drake, Travis Scott, and Juice WRLD. Pizza, tacos, and sushi fill out the top three foods.
In a slight throwback, the top three TV terms are Friends, Netflix, and The Office. In the top five, only one term is a reference to a show that’s currently running—Game of Thrones.
The most popular emoji is the “face with tears of joy” or “laughing so hard I’m crying” face, followed by a winking face and a dog.
Due to Tinder’s heavy skew towards younger demographics, these aren’t surprising findings.
Up next, let’s look at how people engage with Tinder, how broad their market share is, and what user acquisition and paid subscriptions look like for the app.
To start, we should point out that a relatively small percentage of people are on Tinder or dating apps in general.
Unlike a traditional social network like Facebook which counts the majority of the US population in its user base, Tinder’s user base only makes up a single-digit percentage of internet-using adults.
But this is true with dating websites and apps in general. According to a 2019 study, 65% of US internet users say they’ve never used an online or app-based dating platform.
Even more surprising, only 7% are currently on such a platform, and about one in four have been on one in the past.
Unfortunately for our data, Tinder isn’t very forthcoming with their app user engagement. They don’t regularly publish information on active users (except for paying subscribers).
However, the New York Times published a piece in 2014 with detailed information on Tinder’s engagement statistics.
With Tinder’s explosive growth, we should reasonably expect most of those data points to remain fairly consistent.
First, they’ve likely far exceeded 50 million users—they were close to this benchmark in 2014, and have seen huge growth in the subsequent years.
On average, users log in approximately 11 times per day. Men spend 7.2 minutes per session and women spend 8.5 minutes per session, with a total average daily engagement time of around 90 minutes.
This data can be compared to a recent 2018 study of adults in the US and UK. Approximately 5% of US adults checked Tinder once or more per day. This represents about 30% of those who checked Tinder at all.
According to a study conducted in June 2018, there are 6,940 Tinder matches every minute.
Another data point for which we have much more recent official information is when people use Tinder.
Referring again to the “The Year in Swipe” data, the most popular times are Mondays and at 6 pm Pacific Time.
When it comes to the most popular month, Tinder’s data shows that August is the answer. However, on a related blog post, they clarify that this is outside of January.
It would appear that like gym memberships, people sign up for Tinder with high aspirations to get back into the dating game for the new year.
But like gym memberships, that number seems to drop off fairly quickly—otherwise, February would be the second-most popular month due to the surge of users sticking around for more than a few weeks.
When it comes to paid users, Tinder has a unique challenge that faces all dating platforms—the best results for users is to stop using the app.
Its rate of churn—that is, how many people unsubscribe from the service—should be incredibly high, if Tinder’s primary goal is to match people in happy, monogamous relationships where there’s no need to find future matches.
So how does Tinder remain profitable in the face of this issue?
First off is its marketing and platform philosophy. While other apps focus on relationships—including sister app Hinge, which uses the slogan “designed to be deleted”—Tinder markets dating as a fun activity to enjoy as long as possible.
While culture tends to view dating as a stage before finding a relationship or even as a necessary evil, Tinder promotes it as a lifestyle and type of experience.
In fact, the name of the new Tinder blog, launched in the fall of 2018, is called “Swipe Life.”
The second way Tinder has improved customer retention is similar to games with in-app currencies and purchases.
Just as many users realize it’s difficult to succeed on such games without buying power ups, Tinder has leveraged the frustration of the non-paid experience to promote their paid memberships.
However they’ve gone about it, there’s no doubt that Tinder Gold has caused a massive increase in paid subscribers for Match Group.
But there’s still a huge market to tap. Of US adults who have used a dating app, only 13% currently pay for the app or service.
This, of course, is not a secret to Match Group, which wrote in their investor presentation in February 2019, “Significant runway remains – more than half of singles have never tried dating products.”
Of these, men are over three times as likely to pay compared to women, with 19% of men currently paying compared to 6% of women.
But perhaps the most unique statistic when it comes to paying for dating app subscriptions shows up when we divide survey results by ethnicity.
The results show that Hispanics overwhelmingly pay for dating apps, with a full 32% of Hispanics who use dating apps saying they pay for premium features—compared to just 10% for white, 20% for African American, and 15% for other ethnicities.
And how much are they spending? According to 2017 research of US internet users who currently use a dating app, 27%—the largest group of respondents—said they pay $51+ for dating sites and apps.
(Notably, the research doesn’t specify whether this is monthly, annually, or at another frequency of payment.)
At subscriptions starting at just $9.99 for Tinder, there is clearly even more room for the dating app to grow when it comes to monetization.
And Match Group—with Tinder in the lead—is moving quickly to encourage current users to convert to a paid subscription. Data indicates they’re doing a fairly successful job, too.
As of Q4 2018, Tinder had 4.35 million paid subscribers, showing steady quarter-over-quarter growth since the beginning of 2015.
How is it getting these users? Let’s look at that next.
While Tinder launched a desktop version of the application in 2017, it still remains a primarily mobile app.
Because of that, the vast majority of its new users come through app downloads. But what brings them to Tinder? If you’re looking to grow a dating app in the same way as Tinder, this data is gold.
On the Google Play Store, Tinder receives a little over 45% of its traffic directly. When it comes to searches, which make up slightly more than one-half of the traffic, all the top five keywords include the word “Tinder” in them.
Other sources fill out a few percentage points, including mail, referrals, and social. Display ads don’t bring in any traffic.
Summarizing, the far and away the best sources are direct and search, which combined form around 96% of Tinder’s Google Play traffic.
The story is a little different on the Apple App Store, though. Direct traffic is a far larger percentage, with nearly 69% of traffic—or over one in three—coming directly to the app.
Search makes up slightly less than 20%, again with all top five keywords using the word “Tinder” in them. Mail is 0.2% and like Google Play, display ads don’t account for anything.
But referrals (at 5.5%) and social (at 6%) represent larger pieces of the traffic pie for iOS than they do for Google Play.
A possible reason for the relatively low number of social referrals to Tinder is due to a lack of interest in sharing one’s dating habits with social networks.
When Tinder first launched, it required users to sign up with Facebook. It would receive information like name, age, and photos from the network.
But in March 2017, Tinder experimented with an alternative signup option that bypassed Facebook, then fully rolled it out in June of 2017.
A surprising 75% of Tinder users opted against using Facebook authentication to sign up, a number that’s remained fairly steady since Tinder released the feature.
As Tinder continues to separate itself from other networks and apps it can grow less dependent on these platforms and expand its control over the user experience.
One of the clearest trends in Tinder over the past few years is that it makes plenty of money. It consistently ranks as one of the best-performing apps in the world and has become the chief source of revenue for parent company Match Group.
Let’s look at the figures in more detail.
Tinder generates huge amounts of revenue. But perhaps even more importantly, it has a staggeringly high profit margin. According to research in 2018, Tinder’s profit margins are over 40%.
On Apple iOS platforms worldwide, Tinder comes in third place, with $462.2 million USD.
And when we look at just the US, it’s also in third place, earning $14.95 million in the month of September alone.
Tinder is the fifth-highest ranking Android app in the Google Play Store in the US by revenue, earning $14.54 million in November 2018.
Worldwide, it’s an even bigger winner, hitting third place with $37.11 million in November 2018. The two apps it displaces—compared with its fifth-place ranking in the US—are Clash of Clans and Pandora Music.
From January 2012 to October 2018, Tinder has spent a total of 723 days as the top-grossing app on Google Play worldwide.
Earlier we had mentioned that Tinder was less popular in the UK than in the US. While that’s true, however, research shows that Tinder revenue in the UK dominates its European neighbors.
In Europe, Tinder earns the most revenue from UK visitors, generating $69.16 million USD in net revenue in the country alone.
The next-highest country in Europe is Germany, with less than half of the revenue of the UK at $26.75 million USD.
If you’re looking to design a profitable app, Tinder can be a great example that’s not only wildly popular and boasts out-of-this-world engagement statistics, but also generates massive revenue.
So, how does this stack up for its publicly-traded parent company Match Group?
Before we begin, let’s look at a little background on Match Group. Far from being solely the owner of Tinder, Match Group has been called a near-monopoly on dating apps and sites.
Match Group owns a number of properties, including dominant players like Match.com, OkCupid, Hinge, and PlentyofFish.
They also own a variety of niche sites like BlackPeopleMeet.com, CatholicPeopleMeet.com, SingleParentMeet.com, OurTime.com (formerly SeniorPeopleMeet.com), and others.
Yet Tinder is far and away the most profitable brand for the company. In 2018, Tinder accounted for 47% of Match Group’s $1.7 billion in revenue, a figure that’s been on the increase since 2015.
In Q4 2018, Match Group had around 8.2 million paid subscribers, of which approximately 4.35 million are from Tinder, as referenced earlier.
In other words, based on available data, Tinder represents over half of the total paying subscribers to Match Group’s products.
But how do these numbers compare to Match Group’s other properties?
While different figures from different sources can’t be compared entirely, research from February 2019 shows that Tinder generated $367 million in the US alone, more than any other Match Group app.
When we expand our view across a broader time span, it becomes clear that Match Group’s growth since 2012 has mostly come as Tinder has continued to grow.
(This number is only calculated from dating revenue, excluding former Match Group properties such as Princeton Review and Tutor.com.)
And when broken down by quarter, the statistics show that revenue growth began picking up in late 2017 and could be correlated to the introduction of Tinder Gold at the same time.
The largest number of subscribers still remain in North America (defined in official Match Group documents as the United States and Canada).
That said, international subscribers are on the rise and will likely overtake the number of North American subscribers in the coming years.
Revenue is also dominant in North America, though international revenue seems to be lagging compared with subscribers.
Finally, let’s zoom back one level further. Tinder is owned by Match Group, which also holds other dating websites and apps.
But Match Group is in turn owned by InterActive Corp, or IAC. IAC owns a number of digital and media properties.
These include reference sites like Ask.com and Dictionary.com, software like mHelpDesk and iTranslate, media brands like Vimeo, CollegeHumor and The Daily Beast, and home services sites like Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor.
Yet of those, Match Group remains the biggest revenue earner over the past few years.
In short, what started out as a simple dating site is one of the single-biggest revenue drivers for a conglomerate of high-profile media and internet sites.
One of the most important metrics for a growing app is the average revenue per user, or ARPU. Understanding the ARPU of Tinder can give tremendous insight into how well similar apps are doing.
But a quick note before we get started. According to Match Group documents, the term ARPU refers to average revenue per subscriber—not user.
In other words, the only users included in this figure are those who have spent some amount of money, users who have not purchased a paid subscription are not included in ARPU.
That aside, let’s dig into the data.
First off, Tinder ARPU has increased by 50% since 2016, which is an impressive feat in and of itself. The ARPU of Tinder hovers around $0.60 USD.
This likely means that most Tinder subscribers don’t maintain their subscriptions for an extended period.
And despite Tinder’s rapid growth, it’s worth pointing out that Tinder is actually underperforming on APRU compared with the overall range of Match Group’s properties.
Subscription services for other Match properties, such as OkCupid and Match.com, work in a similar vein.
That is, they offer a basic free level of service for anyone, with subscriptions and upgrades for bonus features.
So while Tinder is growing, it’s still not quite there as far as per-user revenue goes at this point. There’s still a lag compared with other dating apps and websites, despite similar business models.
In addition, Tinder is not quite as effective as some of its competitors at generating paid subscriptions. According to Forbes in 2017, approximately 10% of Bumble users become paid subscribers, whereas only 5% of Tinder users do.
In short, Tinder is doing well because it has a large, fast-growing user base—not necessarily because it is better at generating revenue than its peers in the dating app market.
Match Group went public in November of 2015, finishing the first day of trading at a stock price of $14.74.
This was a gain of 22.8%, causing analytics experts at Statista to wonder if the stock was overhyped.
However, the overall price trend for Match Group stock seems to indicate that if anything, the stock was underpriced. MTCH is current trading at $55.92, a three-fold increase over its first day of trading.
Altogether, this means MTCH has a market capitalization of nearly $15.6 billion USD.
Finally, let’s put Tinder into perspective by comparing it with other dating apps in the field.
First off, Tinder is the most popular app in the United States among online users aged 18-29, with 14% preferring it (47% said they had no preference).
However, preference doesn’t necessarily equate to usage. When asked about usage and not broken down by age, Match.com takes first place. Notably, the top three responses—Match.com, Tinder, and PlentyofFish—are all owned by Match Group.
But Tinder has a singular difference compared with other apps on the market—men love it.
While men and women’s preferences were fairly equal in the study when broken down by gender, the one standout was Tinder.
More than twice as many men mentioned Tinder than women, 7% compared to 3%.
Whether that’s a positive or negative factor can be debated, but it remains that Tinder—especially for men—is first on everyone’s mind when they think of a modern dating app.
Tinder has seen explosive growth since its launch, and that growth doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon.
With millions of users, tens of millions of dollars in revenue, and an ever-increasing user base around the world, Tinder still appears to have a lot more room to grow.
Even more impressively, Tinder keeps showing strong growth compared with other dating websites and apps, both competitors and those owned by parent company Match Group.
So, what does the future hold for Tinder?
Its early reputation pigeonholed it as a hookup app. Yet most users of dating apps claim that they don’t see dating apps in this light.
Tinder seems to be shying away from this reputation as well, with its new marketing campaign focused on the joys of being single and presenting dating—not necessarily hooking up—as something fun to do.
Tinder transformed dating culture, perhaps forever, and its influence isn’t going away anytime soon.