A Study Into The True Cost Of Online Dating (Updated For 2020)

Online dating is something that millions engage in every week. Some sites are free while others charge a fee for the service. Looking at the costs associated with online dating makes it easier to estimate what you might spend so that you can create a budget.

If you are ready to start online dating, it is important to consider the costs. This ensures that you choose the sites that best meet your needs while also fitting into your budget.

cost of online dating

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Online Dating’s Annual Costs Are Considerably Less Than Real World Dating

It is estimated that online daters save an average of $12,803 a year when compared to those who choose to date in the non-digital world. This difference in cost is due to multiple factors.

First, when you date people offline, you generally incur costs every time you get together. On average, people who date in the real world spend about 42 weeks together before getting married. This results in approximately $23,660 for the cost of courtship.

Now, when people meet online, they can avoid dates until they really have chemistry with someone. Outside of the cost of their dating site membership, they are not paying anything to meet and talk to people via the website. On average, a dating site membership costs $239 a year.

Once online daters decide to meet a match in the real world, they also tend to save money. You are able to talk and get to know each other before you agree to have a face-to-face date. Because of these, the average online dater dates their match for about 18.5 months before getting married. This means that there are fewer dates, resulting in the associated costs being reduced.

It is estimated that meeting your partner online can save you an average of $12,803. If the two of you agree to go Dutch once you start dating in the real world, the savings is even more significant.

Longer Dating Site Memberships Can Save You Money

Most dating sites that charge a fee offer different membership packages. The bigger the package, the less the monthly cost. For example, if Site X offers three, six and 12-month packages, the 12-month packages will have the lowest monthly rate. So, you pay more upfront, but you can save considerably over the course of the 12-month period.

With many dating sites, the difference in cost is an average of $10 to $20 a month. For example, Site X has a one-month package that costs $29.95 a month. However, if you sign up for three months at a time, each month will only end up costing you $19.95 a month. In most cases, the monthly cost decreases as you make a bigger time commitment.

To save the most money, you should consider how long you want to be on the site. Most people will choose three months or six months. Then, purchase that package to save money over the life of your membership on the dating website.

Romance Scams Are a Real Thing

While most people who join online dating websites are legitimate and looking for love, there are also scammers who join to use romance to get you to open your wallet. According to statistics, people lost about $50 million in 2011, and in 2013, this number rose to about $80 million in money lost to online romance scams.

Many bigger dating sites do things like verify photos and profiles to cut down on the number of potential scammers. While all sites will have at least some scammers, being smart about your financial and personal information can prevent you from becoming a victim.

People in the US Pay the Most for Online Dating

The US has more paid dating website subscribers than any other country. It is estimated that 26.4% of US dating site users are paid subscribers.

These users are mostly looking for other people in the US to date. The level of membership these users have varies. In most cases, the users with a paid subscription are active on the sites. They spend time weekly interacting with members and sometimes even spend extra to use extended features, depending on the setup of the website.

Cost Does Not Impact Intention

A professional dating profile creator says that the cost of a dating site has no impact on why people join the site. All sites have people seeking a variety of relationship types.

This same professional says that being clear about your intentions is more important than the type of membership that you choose. In most cases, people do not look for paid members on sites. Instead they are seeking out those who they have things in common with, including the type of relationship they are looking for.

Free vs. Paid Dating Sites

The potential to meet someone special is not based on whether you pay for a subscription. Now, many of the paid sites have a larger member base. This can increase the chances of finding more people that you are compatible with.

While paid sites tend to have more members, you can also find love on free sites. It ultimately depends on the types of people you want to meet and if the site that you choose has them.

Think about your budget for online dating and find a site that falls within in. If you are new to online dating, checking out a few free sites first can help you get a feel for what to expect.

The thing that sets paid dating sites above free websites is that by charging a membership fee, the site can potentially weed out scammers who are not willing to pay.

More Than Just Membership Fees

When you join a dating site, the first choice that you have to make concerns the subscription that you will choose. On some sites, this is all that you need to purchase to use all of the features. However, other sites will require that you purchase credits to use some extended features.

On average, the credits cost under $1 each. You can use them for things like extended messaging features or sending virtual gifts to those you are communicating with. In most cases, you buy the credits in bundles so that you can choose how many you can afford to buy at once.

Matchmaking Services Are More Expensive

Matchmaking services are another way that people find love online. In most cases, you submit detailed information about yourself to the company and they use this to match you up with other people who you are compatible with.

Where this differs from traditional online dating is with the cost and the communication. On average, this type of service costs about $5,000. Most companies provide you with some type of guarantee due to the high cost of this type of service.

Regarding communication, you may or may not get a chance to talk before meeting for a date. Many of these services match you online, but them your first communication is a blind date.

The Online Dating Industry is Worth Billions

All of those subscription fees add up. In the US alone, the online dating industry is worth about $2.2 billion per year. Mobile apps account for about $576 million.

This shows that a lot of people are willing to pay to meet new people. The subscription fees are not the only factor though. Many of these sites have features outside of the subscription. For example, on some sites you can purchase credits.

When consumers were asked about the services that they are satisfied with, paid online dating sites tend to fare worse than things like credit cards. It is believed that this is not necessarily due to the cost, but due to the fact that you have less control over how well a dating site works for you, it is easier to become disappointed with what it has to offer.

Because of this, some people think that they do not get their money’s worth. People tend to have a better opinion of free sites because even if they do not meet someone, they did not spend any money.

Daters Often Prefer Free Dating Sites and Apps

One survey talked to people about whether they preferred free or paid dating websites. The people who participated stated that they preferred free sites because they felt it was a better value. Among those who responded to this survey, many indicated that they liked Tinder, OkCupid and Grindr the most.

A lot of the people who responded were relatively new to using dating websites. It seems that a lot of people tend to use free sites first, and then once they get a feel for online dating, they might choose to get a paid membership.

The Most Expensive Popular Dating Website

There are thousands of dating sites on the internet. However, when you are just looking at the popular ones, eHarmony is the most pricey. When you sign up for a month at a time, it will cost you $59.95 a month. You can save some money when you choose to sign up for three or more months at a time.


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1. Online dating can save an average of $12,803 throughout the course of a courtship.

2. You can save $10 to $20 a month if you choose a longer subscription than just monthly.

3. Online romance scams cost people as much as $80 million a year.

4. About 26.4% of the online daters in the US have a paid subscription to a dating website.

5. No matter what people pay for a dating site; their intentions are mixed.

6. While paid dating sites tend to have more users, you can still find love on free websites.

7. In addition to subscription fees, some sites also have credits which are typically under $1 each.

8. Matchmaking services are a lot more expensive and cost an average of $5,000.

9. The online dating industry is worth about $2.2 billion in the US alone.

10. Compared to other consumer services, paid dating sites tend to have a lower satisfaction rate.

11. When trying online dating, more people prefer free services.

12. One month of eHarmony costs $59.95, making it the priciest of the most POPULAR dating sites. However, stats show it ranks at the top for helping people find better matches.

SOURCES:

https://time.com/9562/online-dating-saves-money/
https://www.marketwatch.com/
https://bigthink.com/
https://www.consumerreports.org/
https://www.today.com/
https://www.eharmony.com/
https://www.cnbc.com/
https://www.moneysense.ca/
https://hbr.org/
https://electronics.costhelper.com/online-dating.html

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