The time when parents or aunts managed profiles on a Shaadi.com or Jeevansathi.com are long over. Those looking for partners today have help from several dating apps such as Floh, TrulyMadly, Tinder, Happn, etc, which focus on helping two people connect through common interests, which might or might not result in marriage.
The strategy that dating players adopt is to position themselves as a community where people can meet. Take Floh, for example, which prides itself as a curated community of singles, or Happn, which calls itself a meeting app. “If you look at Tinder, it is breaking down all sorts of barriers — geographic constraints and conventional social norms. Even individual fears/biases are being overturned,” says Taru Kapoor, India head for Tinder.
But the question is, are such dating apps eating into the market of existing players in the matrimony space? With dating apps coming to the fore, the market is surely getting divided, as both cater to different sets of audiences. While dating apps target those aged between 18-24 years, matrimonial sites are clearly aiming for people above 24 years.
“We don’t see people moving away from our models to dating apps to find a partner. In fact, there is a very small number of people that overlap,” says Gourav Rakshit, CEO, Shaadi.com. “It is very early in the game right now to ascertain if they are any competition to us. At a macro-economic level, it will not hurt us.”
While marriages are made in heaven, business models are not. Therefore, to be viable, players in both segments are dependent on a premium model. Shaadi.com claims to see a 15-20% growth annually, with almost 75% of its audience now representing itself rather than being controlled by their family members. “We might explore micro-payments going ahead to ease the experience for subscribers,” says Rakshit.
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Dating apps are also on the same path. For example, TrulyMadly has two in-app purchase options — Sparks and Select for Rs 199 and Rs 599, respectively. Sachin Bhatia, CEO and co-founder, TrulyMadly, reveals that approximately Rs 25 lakh revenue is garnered from in-app purchases per month and around Rs 10 lakh from advertising per month.
While advertising is not that big a revenue contributor currently, events are emerging as a scalable revenue stream. Be it comedy clubs, restaurants or creative writing, dating apps are doing it all to leverage word of mouth.