Technology and dating: Match made in heaven?

The hard numbers on finding love online

Choosing the right person to spend the rest of your life with is one of the most important decisions you can make, and with so many fish in the sea, more singles are heading online to find their soul mate.

According to's latest Singles in America study released earlier this month, more singles are meeting prospective partners through the internet than through more traditional means.

The study, which surveyed over 5,300 Americans, found that 31 percent of respondents met their last date online, versus 25 percent who met their date through a friend and 8 percent who met through work.

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But with so many dating sites on offer, choosing the right one is almost as difficult as finding someone who matches your standards.

Onur DAngel | E+ | Getty Images

Niche dating sites such as J-Date, FarmersOnly, WomenBehindBars, MyLovelyParent, UniformDating and DateMyPet, vow to match people based on very particular specifications.

Online Dating Expert Laurie Davis from eFlirt told Reuters there are two different types of niche dating.

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"There are niche sites that lead with interest and religion… but there's a new niche that's emerging. They're leading with technology, they're leading with a different user experience whether it's Facebook connecting and allowing you to see your friends of friends, or whether it's connecting you to Spotify and allowing you to pull in your music into your profile," she said.

It's not hard to see why the online dating industry has grown so rapidly, there is a lot of money to be made.

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According to, the average single spends nearly $61.53 a month on dating related activities, or $738.36 each year. With 111 million singles in the U.S. alone, this means the dating industry in North America alone is worth $82 billion.

Even dating sites that don't charge users or offer "freemium" services are becoming valuable in the eyes of the marketplace, thanks to soaring user numbers.

The world's largest online dating site is, with more than 70 million registered users on its books.

New mobile dating app Tinder has only been available for 17 months but sees growth of roughly 2 percent per day in its biggest markets – the UK and the Netherlands.

Tinder won't reveal user numbers but CEO Sean Rad says the app currently clocks around 400 million profile ratings a day.

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The startup is yet to monetize the product, which is activated via a Facebook login. Mr Rad told CNBC users should expect monetization figures to be introduced this year.

"We fundamentally believe that when you provide people with value, they're willing to pay for it," he said. "Introducing you to somebody new provides high value. We always plan on keeping our core service as you see it today, for free, but we're going to try to charge in the app for value-add services, things that allow you to do more with your matches, things that allow you to stand out in the ecosystem."