Matchmaking is one of the world's oldest professions. With the many thousands of apps and websites available it's no surprise that the business is blossoming. In fact, the dating sector is now one of the fastest evolving industries on the planet. And with record numbers of singles turning to the Internet to find love, friendships and hookups, it shows no signs of slowing down.
Led by Millennials, the dating industry has morphed from a socially strange concept to almost universally accepted in just a few years. But where is it heading? Here are three trends that are almost certainly going to continue shaping the industry.
The Swipe Left/Right Mechanic
The online dating scene is no longer about building flames from sparks, but rather, instant gratification. The Tinder revolution has no doubt been a defining factor, stripping dating right down to its most superficial qualities. It also requires the least amount of effort and embarrassment. Dating apps, both new and old, can no longer survive without the swipe left/right mechanic.
The problem with this trend is that it's based almost solely on physical attraction from the outset – few take note of written profiles. Of course, attraction is hugely important; however, it's not enough to lay the foundations of a real relationship. Perhaps a dating app that takes the opposite approach wouldn't go amiss; something that only allows people to base their decision on a snippet of profile text, and only reveals pictures in the event of a match. It probably wouldn't work, but it would certainly be interesting.
Extremely Niche Applications and Websites
There are some really unconventional dating applications out there: Bristlr, which matches women with bearded men; Feeld, for polyamorus couples to meet “unicorns” and other couples; Hater, which matches people who hate the same things... there's even dating apps for dogs. We're starting to see more website and applications focused around particular sub-cultures and orientations, providing yet another method of filtration.
As more people focus on the niche applications, the appeal of Tinder could start to fade. Maybe we'll see singles move back to the more traditional platforms instead. Perhaps websites such as Flirt.com will get a boost in popularity as people start to realize that the “disposable” nature of the industry isn't as effective at seeding relationships.
Greater Social Network Integration
Dating websites have been combating issues with authenticity since the beginning. The once-great Match.com became renowned for fake profiles, and people grew tired. At first, the idea of Facebook integration was extremely unappealing. After all, dating is a very private pastime. However, nowadays it has become more accepted, and people trust dating services to be more discreet. Maybe in the future social network integration won't be so transparent.
It's funny how everybody between 20 and 35 seems to have such a love/hate relationship with dating apps. They hate the fact that it's become the “normal” way of meeting people, yet they can't resist temptation. Whatever you think about online dating, one thing's for sure, as the older generation embraces it, the business will only get bigger!