The growth of online dating shows no sign of slowing, with a massive 15% of adults in the US having now used an online dating service.
This is according to another landmark study by respected research company Pew Research Center.
The new study, released yesterday, also found that use of online dating amongst 18 to 24-year-olds has increased almost threefold since their last study in 2013.
And in addition to this, online dating usage amongst older Americans (aged 55 to 64) has seen a massive boost – doubling in just two years.
Increase amongst younger and older adults
In terms of the breakdown between desktop and mobile, Pew found that 12% of American adults said they had used an online dating site, up from 9% in 2013.
For dating apps, 9% of Americans said they had used one, up threefold from 3% just two years ago.
Taken together, this represents a very substantial 15% of the American adult population who said they have used an online dating site – compared to 11% in 2013.
As Aaron Smith from Pew Research said: “Throughout human history, people have sought assistance from others in meeting romantic partners — and Americans today are increasingly looking for love online by enlisting the services of online dating sites and a new generation of mobile dating apps.”
And according to Pew, this growth is split between two major groups, younger adults and older adults.
Of those aged between 18 and 24, 27% said they had used online dating, up from 10% in early 2013.
And for 55 to 64-year-olds, this had doubled from 6% in 2013, to 12% two years later.
Writing in the report, Smith said this increase amongst younger adults was down to a big growth in app use: “For young adults in particular, this overall increase in online dating usage has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the use of mobile dating apps.
“Fully 22% of 18- to 24-year-olds now report using mobile dating apps, a more than fourfold increase from the 5% who reported using dating apps in 2013. These young adults are now more likely than any other age group to use mobile dating apps.”
Pew’s latest study into online dating was conducted from June 10-12, 2015, and based on the responses of 2,001 adults.
Online dating more widespread
The report also gave more evidence that online dating has further entered the public consciousness, with 41% of Americans saying they know someone who uses online dating, and 29% saying they know someone who has met a spouse or long-term partner via online dating.
Other fascinating findings of the study include that affluent people and college grads are even more likely to know someone who met a partner via online dating:
“Nearly six-in-ten college graduates (58%) know someone who uses online dating, and nearly half (46%) know someone who has entered into a marriage or long-term partnership with someone they met via online dating.
“By comparison, just 25% of those with a high school diploma or less know someone who uses online dating — and just 18% know someone who has entered into a long-term relationship with someone they met this way.”
And despite the downsides of dating services, Pew found that US adults had a positive experience with it on the whole, with 80% of Americans who have used online dating agreeing that it is a good way to meet people.
In addition to this, 62% agree that online dating allows people to find a better match, because they can get to know a lot more people, and 61% said it was easier and more efficient than other ways of meeting potential partners.
Safety is still main concern
But as always with online dating, its users did voice their concerns, and the downsides and fears of dating services.
Almost half, 45%, actually said that online dating was more dangerous than other ways of meeting people, and 31% said online dating stops people from settling down, because they have more options.
And of those who thought it was a dangerous way of meeting people, 53% were women, compared to the 38% of male online daters who believed the same.
But compared to reports of the past, where online dating was deemed heavily stigmatised, in Pew’s latest study, only 16% agreed that “people who use online dating sites are desperate.”
While the report confirms what most already know – that online dating has thrived in the past few years – the true scope of this increase is often hard to grasp, but such figures put in perspective the massive growth of online dating recently, while also pointing to the areas that services must look at, if they want to keep improving their platforms and better serve their customers.
Check out the full report here.