The purpose of this survey is to understand and establish trends driving the growing Online Dating market in South Africa. This survey will allow us to discern the habits of Online Dating users as well as evaluate the different business models within this industry.

We also contrast the South African market and American markets to determine similarities and differences.

Dating is a universal phenomenon it appeals to a very broad spectrum of society and people. Irrespective of age, race, and gender, all people are interested in it at some point during their lives.

The Online Dating websites included in this survey are Couples, Dateline SA, DatingBuzz, Galaxy Singles, Love Finda, Love Mail, MyDate, MSN Match and The Positive Connection.

They Key Findings

Where do they live?

Not surprisingly most of the people who do Online Dating are in Gauteng (44%), followed by the Western Cape (19.5%), North West Province (14.6%) and KwaZulu-Natal (10.5%). A small percentage (1.25%) of the respondents was from foreign countries; although the survey was primarily aimed at South Africans. The leading cities include Johannesburg (328), Cape Town (226), Rustenberg (169) and then Durban (103).

What about Age vs. Gender?

The age profile for Online Dating is very interesting. One would almost assume more men then women do Online Dating and that is the case except that in the age group “50 or more” there is more women (6%) then men (4.9%) doing Online Dating. A telling statistic that substantiates this trend is the fact that 13.6% of all women were divorced vs. 8.9% men, which can be interpreted as women finding it more difficult to get back into a committed relationship then their male counterparts. The dominating age groups are “25-32” which is still considered young adult. The hectic pace of modern life and demands from work, social life and other commitments are making it more difficult for this group to find a suitable match and they, subsequently, will end up getting married later in life. The next two age groups “33-39” and “40-49” are almost equal and we see this as a fact that people who do online dating are serious about finding a partner. The younger age groups are, as Dr Andrew Thatcher described, “people that are doing it purely out of fun”. They are mostly students, and are experimenting with online dating more as a novelty. People in this age group would not succumb to the same pressures as the older groups e.g. they would go out more to parties, clubs, etc and therefore meeting a reasonable amount of people vs. the older, above 33 generation, who has to cope with possibly raising children, work pressures and more.

What about Ethnicity / Race?

A sad state of affairs is that the ethnicity or race profile of the online dating users in South Africa is diametrically opposite to population of the country. About 78% are Caucasian/white, followed by 11.4% African/black, 5.6% Coloured and 3.7% of Indian decent. This is not an issue that can be addressed over night, but it is related to the imbalances caused by the history of South Africa. The systematic exclusion of non-white races has led to the digital divide we have today. Other factors such as cultural prejudices also play a small role in the big discrepancy between the ethnic race groups that do online dating in South Africa.

What about Relationships?

Although most of the people that do online dating are single (45%), perhaps a not to shocking figure is that the amount of divorcees are the second largest group (22.5%), followed by people actually dating (16.6%) and married (7.4%). Now it is even more interesting that there are 3.7 times more married men then women that are doing online dating. Either these men are blatantly cheating or they are extremely bored in their current relationships. We previously mentioned 1.5 times more women (13.6%) then men (8.9%) are divorced. This has contributed to older women considering online dating as a viable alternative to the usual club/bar scene.