Depressed Dow Drives Americans into Arms of Online Dating - MarketingVOX: "Depressed Dow Drives Americans into Arms of Online Dating
A handful of online dating sites are reporting activity spikes following September's global financial crisis.
'On days when the US Dow Jones industrial went down […] by more than 100 points, more people were likely to log in and spend more time on the site,' stated Senior Research Scientist Gian Gonzaga in an interview with Reuters.
'People seek out companionship in times of stress. Studies repeatedly show that being in a relationship can help a person's psychological and physical health.'
CEO Thomas Enraght-Moony of Match.com corroborates Gonzaga's view. 'During these trying times, people are looking for hope in their inbox,' he said.
November brought Match.com its largest membership increase in the last seven years.
But even lesser-known dating sites, like Perfectmatch.com, are seeing bounty. The latter reported a 47% hike in membership in the three months to November compared to the previous quarter.
An Opinion Research Corp. poll, sponsored by eHarmony, found 57% of Americans worry more about their love lives amidst the credit crunch. Married men were most affected, with 63% stressed over love.
And 75% of poll-takers between 25 and 34 worried whether the economy would negatively impact their love lives. Younger, single respondents were more likely to pursue a relationship as a result of these concerns.
Older respondents, which were more likely to be married, still worried financial issues would harm their existing relationships. "There are often more fights over bills and household budgets" among couples in climates like this one, Gonzaga pointed out.
The Opinion/eHarmony poll comprised 1,092 users. Meanwhile, a survey by Avalanche LLC — which operates date.com, matchmaker.com and amor.com — found 84% of people are spending more time online or over the phone before meeting face-to-face.
With all that in mind, it bodes well for the online dating industry that the Dow is down 35% this year.
Online dating services became aggressive advertisers in '07, with eHarmony spending the most: $110.1 million in total as of February last year. March.com followed, spending $66.4 million in total.
Their efforts weren't wasted. Prior to 2008, Mediamark Research found US adults were increasingly receptive to online dating, which was previously stigmatized as an arena for the desperate and unloveable. Men were slightly more likely to log onto an online dating site (52.2% versus 47.8%), and people between 18-34 consisted of over half of the online dating population. Single parents were significantly more likely than average to pursue a 'net-based romance.The face of online dating in general has evolved since then. Online speed dating debuted late last year. And last month, online dating conglomerate eHarmony lost a three-year-old suit for refusing to match gays, lesbians and bisexuals. The company will launch a gay dating site, "Compatible Partners," in early 2009