Young In­dia’s Need for Love Fu­els Rise of Dat­ing Apps

Apps such as Tin­der and Woo see higher ac­tiv­ity from tier 2, 3 towns

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands - Anu­meha.Chaturvedi @times­group.com

New Delhi: Smart­phones, which have brought the so­cial net­work within palm’s reach, can be handy tools to find love as well. That is the idea fu­elling the rise of dat­ing apps like Tin­der, Truly Madly and Woo, who are bank­ing on young, mo­bile In­di­ans in tier 2, 3 towns in search of that sig­nif­i­cant other.

US-head­quar­tered Tin­der told ET that In­dia is the big­gest mar­ket for the com­pany in Asia and one of its top 5 mar­kets glob­ally. Taru Kapoor, head, In­dia, for Tin­der said the app is at­tract­ing over 14 mil­lion swipes each day in In­dia — an in­crease from 7.5 mil­lion in Septem­ber 2015.

“We have users across In­dia — in big cities as well as smaller cities and towns. Smart­phone pen­e­tra­tion is grow­ing rapidly and more than 300 mil­lion peo­ple are ex­pected to have smart­phones in the next 2-3 years. In­dian youth are mo­bile­first global citizens and are adopt­ing so­cial net­works rapidly,” said Kapoor.

Sachin Bha­tia, co­founder and CEO of Truly Madly, which was launched two years ago and has 3 mil­lion users, said the re­sponse from tier 2 and 3 cities has been ex­tra­or­di­nary. “45% of our users are from small towns and the en­gage­ment is very high in th­ese ar­eas,” said Bha­tia, adding that Ahmed­abad, Luc­know, Dehradun, In­dore, Jaipur and Su­rat have done well for the app. Truly Madly has launched a new fea­ture called Date­licious, de­signed to help users who are matched and are chat­ting on the app plan a great first date. This April, the com­pany will also launch im­age shar­ing within the app for peo­ple to share pic­tures over chats.

Woo, with around 2 mil­lion users is see­ing a lot of ac­tive users in Chandi­garh, Ahmed­abad and Luc­know. “Com­mu­nity based pa­ram­e­ters are be­com­ing sec­ondary. Young ur­ban pro­fes­sion­als and their de­ci­sion mak­ing process is chang­ing. They can take de­ci­sions on their own and are seek­ing com­pat­i­bil­ity,” said Sumesh Menon, co­founder and CEO, Woo. Menon says the com­pany con­tin­ues to in­vest in the prod­uct and has in­tro­duced new fea­tures.

In the last quar­ter of 2015, Woo in­tro­duced the re­con­sider fea­ture, which al­lows users to re­con­sider the pro­files they may have de­clined. Users can look for spe­cific at­tributes in their search op­tions and can see more pro­files based on their in­ter­ests.

“We have also al­lowed peo­ple to

up­date their sta­tus and women can ask quirky ques­tions which men can an­swer to get po­ten­tially com­pat­i­ble matches,” said Woo’s Me­mon. Woo is backed by Ma­trix Part­ners, Omid­yar Net­work and mo­bile tech­nol­ogy com­pany U2opia. Tin­der’s Kapoor said the app has wit­nessed a sig­nif­i­cant in­volve­ment from women in In­dia, who have tra­di­tion­ally been known to avoid dat­ing apps in a country that has a rather un­easy re­la­tion­ship with the con­cept of dat­ing.

“Our fo­cus re­mains on es­tab­lish­ing the Tin­der brand in In­dia, steer­ing its ex­plo­sive user growth and in­creas­ing user en­gage­ment by fo­cus­ing on lo­cal user needs,” she added.In­ter­est­ingly, In­di­ans are one of the chat­ti­est au­di­ences on Tin­der, Kapoor said, spend­ing the max­i­mum amount of time on the app.

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