Number of marriges and engagements from online dating

In 1995, less than a year after Netscape launched the first widely used browser, a site called was offering to help people answer those questions.

As befits a technology developed in the San Francisco Bay area, online dating first took off among gay men and geeks, but it soon spread, proving particularly helpful for people needing a way back into the world of dating after the break-up of a long-term relationship. The 2010s have seen these services move from the laptop to the phones with which young people have grown up.

Today dating sites and apps account for about a sixth of the first meetings that lead to marriage there; roughly the same number result from online encounters in venues not devoted to such matters.

As early as 2010 the internet had overtaken churches, neighbourhoods, classrooms and offices as a setting in which Americans might meet a partner of the opposite sex.

Last year saw a rare Indian tech-sector IPO when raised 500 crore rupees (m) to help it target the marriage market.

In countries where marriage is still very much in the hands of parents, today’s apps offer an option which used hardly to exist: casual dating.

In 2013 Tinder, a startup, introduced the masterfully simple idea of showing people potential partners and having them simply swipe right for “yes” and left for “no”; when two people swiped right on each other’s pictures they were put into contact with each other. Such phone-based services are more immediate, more personal and more public than their keyboard-based predecessors.

More immediate because instead of being used to plan future encounters, or to chat at a distance, they can be used on the fly to find someone right here, right now.

Where data are available, mostly through national surveys, sociologists like Mr Thomas have found that online dating by and large leads to better matches—presumably because of the far greater choice of partners it offers.The business is worth .6bn globally, growing fast and highly competitive.Match Group, which operates Tinder, the original and some 40 similar businesses, had revenues of

Where data are available, mostly through national surveys, sociologists like Mr Thomas have found that online dating by and large leads to better matches—presumably because of the far greater choice of partners it offers.

The business is worth $4.6bn globally, growing fast and highly competitive.

Match Group, which operates Tinder, the original and some 40 similar businesses, had revenues of $1.3bn in 2017—a similar figure to the revenues of American condom sellers.

Once confined to particular times and places, dating can extend everywhere and anywhere.

Not all countries and classes are adopting online dating at the same rate or in the same way.

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Where data are available, mostly through national surveys, sociologists like Mr Thomas have found that online dating by and large leads to better matches—presumably because of the far greater choice of partners it offers.The business is worth $4.6bn globally, growing fast and highly competitive.Match Group, which operates Tinder, the original and some 40 similar businesses, had revenues of $1.3bn in 2017—a similar figure to the revenues of American condom sellers.Once confined to particular times and places, dating can extend everywhere and anywhere.Not all countries and classes are adopting online dating at the same rate or in the same way.

.3bn in 2017—a similar figure to the revenues of American condom sellers.Once confined to particular times and places, dating can extend everywhere and anywhere.Not all countries and classes are adopting online dating at the same rate or in the same way.

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