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Mobile dating app use surpasses dating website use

by Phil Hornshaw

Online dating has gained a lot of mainstream credibility in the last few years, with dating sites that protect user information and work on maintaining their legitimacy as a place where single people really can meet other compatible singles, and not just Internet creepers.

But according to a new set of data from Flurry Analytics, online dating on websites is being surpassed by another kind of online dating – that done with mobile apps. While singles who use websites spent about 8.3 minutes on online dating on average each day in June 2011, mobile app users just barely passed them, spending 8.4 minutes per day on average. Flurry draws its data from more than 90,000 mobile apps that it tracks.

This is significant because just a year ago, time spent on e-dating websites was double that spent on apps – 8.4 minutes compared to about 3.7 minutes, respectively. By December 2010, e-dating apps had risen to an average of 4.8 minutes of use each day, and just six months later, it’s on pace to blow right past e-dating website use. Flurry also found that while website users tend to get all their dating work done in one or two sessions each day, mobile app users might be engaging for shorter amounts of time, but more frequently; logging in, say, five times a day from their mobile apps for 1.5 minute at a time.

Flurry also found that mobile dating apps are, in general, more popular than their website counterparts. Apps have about 17 percent of unique users – that is, users on a dating service who only use the app – whereas websites have about 13 percent unique users. Here’s a quote from Flurry’s analysis.

We also found that the number of people using dating apps is growing faster than the number using all apps. In short, dating is a growth category. Overall, the number of unique users of all applications increased 125%, year-over-year, while the number of unique users using mobile dating apps increased by 150% over the same period. Comparing Internet dating to mobile app dating directly, unique users in mobile dating apps now account for about one third compared to the number of Internet dating users, which has doubled over the last year.

If this just sounds like a lot of weird information, consider the number of people who actively use online dating. Flurry’s analysis cites data suggesting as many as 1 in 5 single people in the U.S. date online, and as many as 17 percent of recent marriages were a result of online dating. In the U.S. and Europe, online dating accounts for a $2 billion a year industry.

That’s a lot of people and a lot of money potentially flowing through a section of the mobile app market that’s seeing some interesting growth. It’ll be interesting to see if those users drive developers to create apps that are tied in with online dating but peripheral to the actual services, expanding the space even more.