Most dating apps are free, but more often than not, there’s a monthly subscription fee to unlock all the perks and features — even for something as simple as read receipts.
Choosing not to fork out any cash won’t stop users from finding eternal love, of course, but that knowledge is certainly not stopping people from shelling out. Power users can be splurging up to $29.99 a month for upgrades such as seeing profiles of everyone who liked you on Tinder and rematching with expired connections on Bumble.
Making people pay for a better chance at romantic encounters (among other things) is a sure-fire way to profit, and boy, have dating apps made a killing in Singapore.
Analytics firm App Annie crunched the numbers and found out that Singapore users have spent US$7.1 million (S$9.9 million) on dating apps last year, a good 80 per cent more than what was spent in 2017 (US$3.9 million). Still, the amount is dwarfed by the US$2.2 billion spent on dating apps globally in 2019.
Are we that hard-up for love or do we just have a lot more disposable income? It could be both, and it could be that swiping is just that addictive. But it certainly says a lot when a small city-state like ours is spending a lot more on dating apps than the likes of Malaysia and Indonesia.
So yeah, Singapore has essentially contributed US$16 million to the coffers of dating app developers from 2017 to 2019. You can put a price on love!
“Dating apps have unlocked the keys to monetisation through subscription over the last few years,” commented Cindy Deng, managing director of App Annie, Asia Pacific.
“They are an example of an industry that has provided an in-demand service which consumers are willing to pay for to unlock deeper value, largely displacing previous modes to become the de facto dating tool.”
App Annie also identified the top apps that we’re plopping money on to feel a little less lonely. Unsurprisingly, Tinder is at the top of the heap, followed by Coffee Meets Bagel. Fun fact about those two: Tinder became the Apple Store’s top-grossing app after introducing its Tinder Gold service in 2017, while men who upgraded their accounts on Coffee Meets Bagel apparently had a 43 per cent higher number of connections than non-payers.
Interestingly, Singapore consumers are spending more on Chinese-developed dating app Tantan than the better-known likes of Bumble and Tagged. Homegrown app Paktor didn’t manage to breach the top 10 list, unfortunately.
Matches and money
Tantan, in particular, has been enjoying spectacular growth in consumer spending globally — 70,000 per cent growth to be exact. Bought by Nasdaq-listed social media app Momo for US$760 million back in 2018, the Chinese app has made it clear that it is eyeing market expansions in Southeast Asia.
Bumble is another dating app to look out for in Singapore, according to App Annie. Just last month, the women-focused dating app collaborated with the Singapore Tourism Board for Bumble Bizz, its networking and mentoring app that offers women to meet like-minded career professionals by swiping right.
Even though it has been utterly dominating the list, Tinder is looking to expand its presence further in Asia. Over the past two years, Tinder established offices in South Korea, Japan, and Indonesia. And it has eyes on Singapore next.
“With the global success of dating apps, it shows that the search for relationships is a worldwide phenomenon,” noted Deng.
“App developers can find tremendous success beyond their home countries if they understand their consumers and can tap into their preferences in each market to build deeper engagement.”
On a day such as today, don’t let big data ruin your idea of romance — it’s not all about algorithms. But you can’t deny that money is a grease that’ll speed up the wheels of love, both in-app and in real life.