The Rise of Online Dating, and the One Company That Dominates the Market
Couples used to meet in real life, but now more and more people are “matching” online.
While online dating was once considered taboo, the number of couples meeting online has more than doubled in the last decade to about 1-in-5. Nowadays, you’re much more likely to meet your next partner online rather than through your family or co-workers. But don’t worry, your friends are still a good help too.
The data used in today’s chart is from the “How Couples Meet and Stay Together” survey by Stanford University. This unique dataset charts a significant shift in the way couples meet each other, and demonstrates how our changing communication habits are driving massive growth in the online dating market.
The Rise of Dating Apps
The rise of online dating in the last decade goes hand in hand with the rise of dating apps.
Tinder globally popularized app-based matchmaking when it launched on iPhones in 2012, and later on Android in 2013. Unlike traditional dating websites, which required lengthy profiles and complicated profile searches, Tinder gamified online dating with quick account setups and its “swipe-right-to-like” approach. By 2017, Tinder had grown to 57 million active users across the globe and billions of swipes per day.
Since the launch of Tinder, hundreds of dating services have appeared on app stores worldwide. Investors are taking notice of this booming market, while analysts estimate the global online dating market could be worth $12 billion by next year.
But it might surprise you that despite the growing variety of dating options online, most popular apps are owned by just one group.
The Big Business of Dating Apps: Match Group
Today, nearly all major dating apps are owned by the Match Group, a publicly-traded pure play that was spun out of IAC, a conglomerate controlled by media mogul Barry Diller.
IAC saw the online dating trend early, purchasing early online dating pioneer Match.com way back in 1999. However, with online dating shifting into the mainstream over recent years, the strategy quickly shifted to aggressively buying up major players in the market.
We’re highly acquisitive, and we’re always talking to companies. If you want to sell, you should be talking to us.
–Mandy Ginsberg, Match Group CEO
In addition to its prized app Tinder – which doubled its revenue in 2018 to $805 million – Match Group owns popular online dating services like OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Hinge, and has even bought out international competitors like Meetic in Europe, and Eureka in Japan. The dating giant reported revenues of $1.73 billion in 2018.
According to reports, Match Group now owns more than 45 dating-related businesses, including 25 acquisitions.
As Match Group continues to swallow up the online dating market, it now boasts dating sites or apps in every possible niche – including the four most-used apps in the United States.
Despite Match Group’s dominant efforts, there are still two competitors that remain outside the dating giant’s reach.
The One That Got Away
In 2017, Match Group tried to acquire its last major competitor, Bumble – which had grown to over 23 million users in just three years – for $450 million. Bumble rejected the offer and by the next year, Match Group sued Bumble for patent infringement, for what some felt was a bargaining chip to force an acquisition.
Bumble responded with an ad in the Dallas Morning News denouncing Match Group: “We swipe left on your multiple attempts to buy us, copy us, and, now, to intimidate us. We’ll never be yours. No matter the price tag, we’ll never compromise our values.”
It remains to be seen if Match Group will be able to acquire Bumble, but another tech giant’s decision to launch its own dating service has also complicated Match’s conquest of the online dating market.
New Face in Town
In 2018, social media giant Facebook launched its own dating service—potentially leveraging its 2.2 billion active users—to join the online dating market.
While the announcement initially caused Match Group’s stock to drop 21%, it since has rebounded as Facebook has been slow to roll out their service.
Going forward, Match Group’s dominance may be hindered by anti-trust calls in the U.S., Bumble’s growth and direct competition to Tinder, and whether the sleeping giant Facebook can change the global online dating market with its own service.
Who will win our hearts?
Hat tip to Nathan Yau at Flowing Data, who introduced us to the data on how couples meet. His dynamic chart is worth a look as well.
Visualized: A Breakdown of Amazon’s Revenue Model
Here’s a look at the different parts of Amazon’s revenue model, and how much money each business segment makes.
Visualized: A Breakdown of Amazon’s Revenue Model
Amazon has evolved into more than just an online store. While ecommerce makes up a significant portion of the company’s overall sales, its diverse revenue model generates billions through various business segments.
This visualization provides an overview of the different parts that make up Amazon, showing each business unit’s net sales from June 2019 to 2020.
A Diverse Revenue Model
With a market cap of $1.7 trillion, Amazon is currently the most valuable retailer in the world. The company is expected to account for 4.6% of total U.S. retail sales by the end of 2020—but the tech giant is more than just a one-trick pony.
A key factor in the company’s success is its diversification into other areas. Here’s a breakdown of Amazon’s revenue mix:
|Business Segment||Net Sales (June 2019 - 2020)|
|Online stores||$163 B|
|Third-party selling services||$63 B|
|Amazon Web Services||$40 B|
|Subscription services||$22 B|
|Physical stores||$17 B|
|Total Revenue||$322 billion|
While Amazon is truly more than an online store, it’s worth noting that online sales account for a significant amount of the company’s overall revenue mix. Over the period of June 2019 to 2020, product sales from Amazon’s website generated $163 billion, which is more than the company’s other business units combined.
A significant day for online sales is Prime Day, which has grown into a major shopping event comparable to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2020, Prime Day is projected to generate almost $10 billion in global revenue.
While ecommerce makes up a large portion of Amazon’s overall sales, there are many other segments that each generate billions in revenue to create immense value for the tech giant. For instance, enabling third-party sellers on the platform is the company’s second-largest unit in terms of net sales, racking up $63 billion over the course of a year.
This segment has shown tremendous growth over the last two decades. In 2018, it accounted for 58% of gross merchandise sales on Amazon, compared to just 3% in 2000. While third-party sellers technically outsold Amazon itself, the company still makes money through commission and shipping fees.
Amazon is Not Alone: Diversification is Common
Amazon isn’t the only major tech company to benefit from diverse revenue streams.
Other tech giants generate revenue through a range of products, services, and applications—for instance, while a healthy portion of Apple’s revenue comes from iPhone sales, the company captures 17% of revenue from a mix of services, ranging from Apple Pay to Apple Music. Microsoft is another example of this, considering it owns a wide range of hardware, cloud services, and platforms.
While there are several reasons to build a diverse business portfolio, a key benefit that comes from diversification is having a buffer against market crashes. This has proven to be particularly important in 2020, given the economic devastation caused by the global pandemic.
The Sum of its Parts
Despite varying levels of sales, each business unit brings unique value to Amazon.
For instance, while Amazon Web Services (AWS) falls behind online sales and third-party sellers in net sales, it’s one of the most profitable segments of the company. In the fourth quarter of 2019, more than half of Amazon’s operating income came from AWS.
In short, when looking at the many segments of Amazon, one thing is clear—the company is truly the sum of its parts.
Ranked: The Top 100 Product Searches on Amazon
This graphic highlights the top product searches on Amazon in the U.S., providing a glimpse of what items American consumers are after.
What Products are People Searching for on Amazon?
When it comes to searching for products online, a majority of U.S. shoppers go directly to Amazon. Thanks to this widespread use, product searches on Amazon provide interesting insights into current consumer behavior, including what shoppers have been focusing on in 2020.
Today’s chart uses data from Ahrefs to showcase Amazon’s top 100 U.S. product searches. We’ll also dive into the most popular categories, as well as top keyword searches on a global basis.
Top 100 Amazon Product Searches in the U.S.
Out of the top 100 product searches on Amazon, over half are for electronics.
Nintendo Switch is the most searched product keyword, with approximately one million monthly searches. This makes sense, considering the console’s recent surge in popularity—in March 2020, U.S. sales of the Nintendo Switch more than doubled compared to a year prior.
Here’s a look at the full ranking of all product keywords, by monthly search volume:
|7||game of thrones||518,000||Media|
|17||external hard drive||412,000||Electronics|
|20||micro sd card||402,000||Electronics|
|33||gift cards for amazon||314,000||Misc|
|48||nintendo switch games||270,000||Electronics|
|59||amazon gift cards||254,000||Misc|
|64||led strip lights||247,000||Electronics|
|69||xbox one controller||238,000||Electronics|
|72||usb c cable||236,000||Electronics|
|79||iphone xr cases||222,000||Misc|
|98||iphone 11 case||195,000||Misc|
Two different Apple products make the top 10—Airpods and iPad. It’s interesting that Airpods and iPads have their own search term distinctive from their broader categories (wireless headphones and tablets), demonstrating Apple’s strong brand recognition in America.
Of course, Apple is also dominant in the personal tech market more broadly. For instance, iPhones make up 46% of the U.S. smartphone market by number of devices sold.
Top 100 Amazon Product Searches Globally
Like the U.S. top searches, Nintendo Switch comes in at number one worldwide, with over 2 million approximate monthly searches.
|12||game of thrones||1,040,000||Media|
|30||micro sd card||576,000||Electronics|
|36||external hard drive||526,000||Electronics|
|63||redmi note 7||433,000||Electronics|
|73||nintendo switch games||402,000||Electronics|
|78||xbox one controller||392,000||Electronics|
|92||lego star wars||362,000||Misc|
|93||xiaomi redmi note 7||362,000||Electronics|
Interestingly, three different Apple products appear in the top 10 global searches—Airpods, iPad, and iPhone. Additionally, a couple of older iPhone models make the overall ranking—iPhone 7 comes in at 21st place, and iPhone 8 takes the 28th spot.
On the U.S. list, these older iPhone models don’t even make the top 100.
Keyword Category Rankings
When it comes to top-ranking keywords, the electronics category appears to be the most important to Americans. Over half the U.S. top product searches fall under electronics, with the home category in second place.
Here’s a look at the full U.S. category breakdown:
Interestingly, when comparing the order of categories in the U.S versus worldwide, the sections remain mostly the same:
|Category||# of U.S. Keywords||# of Global Keywords|
Like the U.S., electronics comes in at number one worldwide. However, it’s an even larger portion for the global ranking—70 keyword searches on the global list are for electronics.
The home category is more popular in the U.S. than across the globe, with 22 in the U.S. versus 12 worldwide. In America, air fryer is the most popular keyword search under this section—possibly because people were looking for a quick way to make their meals while they were busy playing Animal Crossing on their Switches.
The second most popular U.S. keyword under the home category is toilet paper. Considering the toilet paper shortages in the spring of 2020, this makes sense, as stores began limiting the number of rolls a person could purchase.
What Will 2021 Bring?
Based on the top 100 list, both globally and in the U.S., it’s clear that when searching on Amazon, a majority of consumers are looking for electronics.
However, the specific electronics they’re searching for (such as iPhones and Nintendo Switches), helps to provide some context around the products people are interested in, as well as the particular brands that are currently on everyone’s radar.
Will the Switch get switched out of the top spot in 2021? Because electronics tend to update so frequently, it’s very possible.
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