So in the case of India, ARPU could hover around $6, pegging the dating market today at around $1
For apps – where users have higher engagement – it would be higher. 5 billion (at a user base of 25 million).
To understand the shift, Helion Ventures undertook a randomised online survey among 250 single women to understand their views and attitudes around dating and marriage
Young Indian women, who have traditionally played second fiddle in a patriarchal society, are perhaps the biggest change agent. Close to 85% of the surveyed single women (over 25 years) wanted to date. The figure was 60% for respondents from tier II and tier III cities. Further, three of every four women wanted to find their partners by themselves. Three fourths of the women looking to get married in the next two years said they want to first date the person before deciding on the marriage.
Young single women corroborate what the survey reveals. At 34, Shally Gupta, a corporate banker with an MNC, can look after herself well. She lives in a three-bedroom apartment with a few friends in South Delhi and spends the weekends with her parents (who also live in Delhi). The decision to move out was not easy. But her long work commute as well as an independent Mumbai stint made it a little easier. Her parents, particularly her mother, worry about her marriage. Not that they did not try. From the traditional arranged marriage route to matrimony portals, they pulled out all stops but nothing worked. “We both are looking at similar things but from two very different ends,” Gupta says. Her parents have a top-down view, she says – first look at the boy’s family, his caste, his job, his salary and then him. For her, it’s the bottom-up approach – first the boy and then everything else. “Sometimes I could not relate to them [prospective candidates]. At other times they could not relate to me,” she says.
More than obsessing about finding Mr Right, Gupta is looking for a “companion,” which she is hoping to find at the Floh monthly meetings at which she is a regular. “They open up avenues to meet like-minded people.” She also likes the tight scrutiny that the Floh team does, a big comfort factor. While she is yet to find a romantic companion, she has made 15-20 friends – both men and women – in Mumbai and Delhi with whom she hangs out often.
Shruti Bhasin, 29, an executive with an information technology MNC, swears by the benefits of dating apps. Her parents have been looking for a groom for the last two years but they were “not my type. I could not say yes to them. At this stage of my life I am independent and have some expectations from my partner,” she says candidly. So she registered on TrulyMadly and in April connected with Nitin Kapoor. A few chat sessions on the app and a few phone calls later, Cupid struck. They informed their parents and met a few times. Now they are getting married in ily,” she raves. It is not just women, though, who are seeing the benefit in the new age dating apps. Anshuman Mongia, 28, a Delhi- based IT sector executive, is running a parallel search for a partner even as his parents try the arranged marriage route. “Ideally, I would like to know her before I get married,” says Mongia, who is by now a regular user of the Woo app. Talking to girls one does not know is very difficult in India for single men like him, he says. Woo makes it easier, safer and simpler. A conversation with a random person does not feel awkward here. He can be himself and the girl herself. And at any time, she has the comfort to block him if she wants to. “I hope I find my girl before my parents do,” he says.