Matrimonial sites in India devise ways to beat dating apps


Currently, of the around INR800-crore online (RM450mil) matchmaking market in India, matrimonial websites have a dominant share of around 70% with the rest 30% belonging to dating platforms, which has, however, doubled since March 2021. — Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash

BENGALURU: Matrimonial platforms such as Matrimony.com Ltd, People Group's Shaadi.com and Info Edge unit Jeevansathi.com are adding conversational features, video chats and expanding to newer markets to diversify and attract a young Indian population amid a Covid-induced spurt in online dating.

While dating platforms have been in India for at least seven years, Covid accelerated the habits of younger people to use dating apps for finding partners.

Currently, of the around INR800-crore online (RM450mil) matchmaking market in India, matrimonial websites have a dominant share of around 70% with the rest 30% belonging to dating platforms, which has, however, doubled since March 2021, said Able Joseph, founder and chief executive, Aisle, a dating platform run by Aisle Network Pvt Ltd, in which Jeevansathi's parent Info Edge took a 79.22% stake earlier this year.

Aisle, which considers itself India's third-largest dating app behind Tinder and Bumble, has gained more traction for its four vernacular apps launched for south Indian users. Some of the other active dating apps —Tinder, Bumble, TrulyMadly and Happn —declined to comment. The three dominant matrimonial platforms, however, don't consider the growing popularity as a major threat.

"We don't see dating websites as serious competition. It (the space) has a limited audience and targets different age-group. And they have been in the market for around a decade but none of them have crossed even a million dollar growth... Matrimonial platforms allow users for more serious relationships that lead to marriage," said Murugavel Janakiraman, chairman and managing director, Matrimony.com.

The company, which has rebounded to double-digit growth from a weak performance during Covid, is starting newer verticals including vernacular matrimony and Muslim Matrimony.

It is also setting up regional and profession-specific segments such as RajasthaniMatrimony, BihariMatrimony, DoctorsMatrimony and IIMIITMatrimony.com, among others.

"We are launching these new initiatives to accelerate our growth. We have also expanded in geographies within and beyond India to Bangladesh and if not for the current crisis, we were planning to expand to Sri Lanka as well," he said.

Shaadi.com is also introducing video and chat features after piloting it for a year.

"When we study India, marriage is not entirely a love or arranged marriage. But this generation is doing planned marriage and that's compelling for our business," Shaadi.com founder Anupam Mittal said in a recent interview.

Similarly, Jeevansathi, which runs four separate vernacular apps, is exploring text chat and audio-video call features on its platform with greater privacy controls. – Mint, New Delhi/Tribune News Service

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