Who pays for dating apps? According to a new study, the answer, in a word (or three): Not a lot. But some do, and those who do really talk it up. To back up for a moment, I always figured it was those most committed to find love who pay — the people who pay extra to hit the "promote me" button and get pushed to the top of the pile on everyone's feed for 10 minutes on OkCupid, the people who use the "passport" feature on Tinder to expand their search for romance to other cities and countries.
Turns out this may be true in some instances, but of those who pay for dating sites, some hype the upgrades with zeal and zest. In a piece on Vice, called "In Defense of OkCupid's A-List," the writer says, "I value my A-List subscription at a level in which it has become engrained. Half the time, I forget that I even pay for it." Well, there you have it.
Even though there may be some passion around paying for apps, the bottom line is that not very many people do. About 275,000 Tinderers pay for Tinder Plus, but there are 32 million users, which means only 0.85 percent pay — less than one percent. And according to this new study about who pays for dating tech and apps, analyzing data from more than 30,000 people in this country by online lender Earnest, only 1.6 percent of 18- to 26-year-olds who are on dating apps pay for the premium services offered with an associated price tag.
1. Men Pay More Often Than Women
The study found that men are 16 percent more likely to pay for apps and sites that offer dating, which surprises approximately no one.
2. West Coast Dominates The Dating Game
Those who live on the west side of the country are about 55 percent more likely to use dating apps and sites than those in other regions. I thought New Yorkers were online date-aholics, but I guess Portland, L.A., Seattle, San Francisco et al have cumulatively beat NYC, D.C., Boston, Philly and the like. I'm not sure it's a contest, and I'm not really sure who would be considered a winner even if it were, but — props, West Coast?
3. Overall, Few People Pay For Dating Apps
In addition to the 1.6 percent of people ages 18 to 26 who are down to shell out bank for dating online, 2.2 percent of 27- to 35-year-olds, 2.4 percent of 36- to 55-year-olds and 1.7 percent of those 56 and older have paid for a dating app. Pay close attention to that language: have paid for a dating app. At one time. So these tiny percentages aren't even necessarily paying right now for eHarmony or whatever — they just have, at one time, paid for some online dating service.
4. Match Rules The Paid Dating Game
As far as paying for online dating goes, Match is the most popular of them all. This is interesting, because I literally have never met anyone who has ever tried Match. Except for my ex's mom, who found her evangelical new husband on there. So there is that.
5. OkCupid Comes In Second
Match may have 44 percent of the online dating commerce, but OkCupid comes in close second, with 32 percent. Other runners-up: eHarmony (22 percent), Tinder (9 percent) and Plenty of Fish (1 percent).
6. Dating Sites Aren't Cheap
According to Earnest, the average dating site costs between $10 and $65 per month. The low end is less than the weekly coffee budget of pretty much everyone I know (with the exception of myself — what what home brew — but I parenthetically digress), but the high end of that is pretty pricey. I hope that $65 includes, like, five automatic dates with super-hotties every month.
7. Regional Dating Is A Thing
Or at least trends happen in different regions. West Coasters are definitely most likely to throw down for dating services, with a whopping 2.9 percent of people in that area willing to pay a premium for dates, followed by 2.1 percent of those who live in the Northeast, 1.8 percent of Midwesterners and 1.7 percent of Southerners. Makes sense, actually.
This Is Just Based On Statistics
Statistics are notoriously skewed — as they say, statistics lie — and this only analyzed a data set of 30,000 people, which is actually really small. If you want to pay for a dating app, pay for a dating app. If you don't, don't. Do you. And here's a handy little infographic from Earnest about this data, FYI, which also lets us know that people search for "love" via Google the most in the month of February every year. Sweet.
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