German dating industry hits €100 million mark
German providers of online dating services dominate the domestic market and leer at Europe
Cologne, June 12, 2007 - German singles have been jumping on online dating websites for several years. Meanwhile, most of them are prepared to pay for these services - at a progressive rate, this is also the case for ladies. This is one of the findings of the recent survey "Online dating services in Germany" which is based on a poll answered by 46 leading companies of the dating industry.
In 2006, Germans have spent a total of €116 million on online dating. This is an increase of 40.4% compared to the year before (€82.6 million). The market segment of online matchmakers increased the most (by 62.8%) followed by online personals and dating services for amorous adventures. For 2007, the industry predicts a turnover of €127.3 million.
The number of singles looking for a partner (about 7 million per month) does not vary much. Henning Wiechers, initiator of the survey, says: "These days, the leading providers do not concentrate on fast growth anymore, but rather on quality as well as on customer loyalty in order to generate more money per member. The singles looking for a partner honour this increase in quality and are prepared to pay higher prices." This does also apply to the ladies who must, at 43% of the providers questioned, pay member fees as well.
Other than in the world of films, computer games or online auctions, it is the dating services "made in Germany" which dominate the domestic market. "About 80% of the turnover is attained by German companies", says Wiechers. Although world market leaders like Match.com or Meetic have started their businesses very early, they did not succeed in bringing their German subsidiaries forward. The communication channels of foreign dating companies usually work rather slow and the country managers, having very little decision latitude, have to fend for themselves. "Foreign companies often lack a small but often crucial quality improvement to play a bigger role on the German market. Oftentimes, it is small translation errors or difficulties in communication which lead to a lack in quality. The average European, for example, does not know that he is referred to as 'caucasian'."
Wiechers says in relation to this problem: " You've got the notion that, although foreign companies have recognised the potential of the German market at an early stage, they have clearly underestimated German competitors." This is all the more incomprehensible if you look at the well-known media companies which are among the market leaders in Germany. The Holtzbrinck publishing group owns PARSHIP, the market leader in German online matchmakers, and has extended its portfolio with the social networking provider StudiVZ at the beginning of this year. ElitePartner, the number two on the German Market, benefits more and more from Hubert Burda Media's stake in the company as far as cooperation in marketing is concerned. T-Online has also saved its piece of the action at an early stage with the help of FriendScout24, a leading provider for online personals.
How will the leading German providers acquit themselves in Europe and the rest of the world? Henning Wiechers thinks that the companies will be successful and dares to make a prediction: "The European markets will be divided within the next one or two years and German online dating providers will have a strong position on the market. In our opinion, it is likely that major US companies that missed this opportunity will put out their feelers towards the market leaders in Europe." However, no German company has ever dared the leap on the highly competitive American market, but due to increasing profits and increasing self-confidence this is merely a matter of time.
About this survey
The survey " Online dating services in Germany" is based on the most comprehensive survey ever cast about German online dating providers. In the first quarter of 2007, a total of 46 leading online dating companies were questioned about their market data, estimation and strategies.After "Online dating report 2004", "Online dating report 2005" and "Online dating user study 2006", this survey is the fourth major publication about online dating in Germany.
The online service "singelboersen-vergleich.de" considers itself to be an independent observer of the German online dating market. It provides comprehensive test results of major online dating providers as well as hints of how to maximise individual chances of success when flirting online. Industry insiders are provided with commented news from a business point of view by the blog "online-dating-news.blogspot.com".
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