Online Personals Viewers Down 33%
The study, conducted by information technology research group Jupitermedia Corporation, showed a 33 percent decrease in viewers of personals over the last year, a trend which analysts say accounts for the increased focus on conversions of viewers into paying subscribers.
“For years, online dating sites saw large numbers of new users flowing into the market every years,” said associate analyst Nate Elliott. “As a result, the industry grew by 73 percent in 2002 and 77 percent in 2003.”
“But in 2004, as the number of users actually started to decline, the market grew by only 19 percent,” Elliott said. “In 2005, the industry will grow by just 9 percent, to $516 million.”
The decrease in users is driving owners of personals sites to seek out “serious dates,” according to Elliott, and to move away from the traditional pay-as-you-go model to a subscriber-based model.
“Serious dates present an attractive opportunity for personals sites,” Elliott said. “These users convert 20 percent more often, are twice as likely to purchase long-term subscriptions and pay up to twice as much per month as casual dates.”