The Evolving Economy

It’s a match: How do dating apps make money?

  • The digital experience enhances the online dating market
  • Tinder, owned by InterActiveCorp, now sees two billion swipes a day
  • Online dating is big business in today’s digital economy

What long-term trend are we observing?

Online dating is now widely, and increasingly, accessible thanks to the adoption of smartphones - those in the market for romance can now easily search for potential partners using a variety of criteria. Popular dating app Tinder now sees two billion swipes a day, resulting in one million dates a week, which is likely to pick up around key holidays like Valentine’s Day. In fact, one-third of all relationships now begin on a dating app.[1] 

Online dating is also big business – annual revenue is forecast to increase by 60% from $1.58 billion in 2017 to $2.53 billion by 2024.[2] The most successful online dating app to-date is Tinder, which was the highest-ranking non-gaming app in 2019 by worldwide consumer spend in the iOS App Store and Google Play.[3]

What does this mean for investors?

Most dating apps are free to download, but then users must pay to unlock extra features, such as Tinder’s $14.99 a month ‘Gold’ subscription which lets users see who has ‘liked’ them first. Apps also generate cash via in-app advertising, offering bars, restaurants and other businesses to a captive audience of consumers looking for fun date activities. Notably, the total number of online dating users is forecast to rise 57% from 178 million in 2017 to 279 million by 2024.[4] We believe this will help increase the value proposition of online dating firms, as other companies look to advertise their services to reach a wider pool of customers.

IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns a substantial stake in Match Group, owns and operates more than 45 subscription-based online dating services, including two of the highest-earning dating apps: Tinder and[5]

By owning multiple brands catering to different needs, Match Group provides a breadth and purity of exposure to the modern dating economy. Indeed in Q3 2019, Match Group’s total revenue grew 22% year-on-year to $541 million, driven by a 19% rise in paid subscribers.[6]


These data points underscore the long-term theme we see of people using connected devices to help them find solutions to age-old problems. This requires businesses to increasingly use data to understand their customers and customise their digital offering. The trend also  supports our approach of investing in companies operating across the digital economy.

Please note that all stocks and companies mentioned are for illustrative purposes only and should not be considered an investment recommendation.

[1] IAC, Match Group, 2020

[2] Online dating worldwide, revenue in million US$, Statista, December 2019

[3] Top grossing apps worldwide for December 2019 (non-game), Sensor Tower, 10 January 2020

[4] Online dating worldwide, users in millions, Statista, December 2019

[5] Top grossing dating apps worldwide for December 2019, Sensor Tower, 3 January 20206

[6] 3Q 2019 Match Group Earnings Release, Match Group, 5 November 2019


Not for Retail distribution: This document is intended exclusively for Professional, Institutional, Qualified or Wholesale Clients / Investors only, as defined by applicable local laws and regulation. Circulation must be restricted accordingly.

This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment research or financial analysis relating to transactions in financial instruments as per MIF Directive (2014/65/EU), nor does it constitute on the part of AXA Investment Managers or its affiliated companies an offer to buy or sell any investments, products or services, and should not be considered as solicitation or investment, legal or tax advice, a recommendation for an investment strategy or a personalized recommendation to buy or sell securities.

Due to its simplification, this document is partial and opinions, estimates and forecasts herein are subjective and subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee forecasts made will come to pass. Data, figures, declarations, analysis, predictions and other information in this document is provided based on our state of knowledge at the time of creation of this document. Whilst every care is taken, no representation or warranty (including liability towards third parties), express or implied, is made as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information contained herein. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the recipient. This material does not contain sufficient information to support an investment decision.

Issued in the UK by AXA Investment Managers UK Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Registered in England and Wales No: 01431068. Registered Office: 7 Newgate Street, London EC1A 7NX. In other jurisdictions, this document is issued by AXA Investment Managers SA’s affiliates in those countries.