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More Americans are shopping for love online these days, and industry analysts say there's an opportunity for investors in the emerging trend.
A recent report by Topeka Capital Markets finds that the combination of tough economic times, a rise in the number of singles, social media and mobile technology is causing a resurgence in the "fast food dating" business of online personals. people are a lot more comfortable posting their personal information online.
(IAC announced in December that the dating website will be reorganized as a separate business called Match Group, with its own chairman, potentially setting the stage for a spinoff.) "A company like Match, they have the best potential to gain significant market share in terms of the number of subscribers," Anthony said.
So there's no longer a negative stigma attached to online dating," said the report's author, Victor Anthony, Topeka's managing director of Internet media. In a recent Pew Internet survey, 59 percent of Americans said they consider online dating a good way to meet people compared with 44 percent in 2005. are single, meaning there's plenty of opportunity for dating sites.
Other research suggests that more than a third of married couples now meet online. The unmarried population stands at 47 percent, up from 42 percent in 1994, according to the Census Bureau.
Sites like e Harmony—the second largest online dating website in the U. "There are few stand-out investment opportunities these days," said Mark Brooks, an Internet dating industry consultant based in New York City.
Leading the pack is Match.com, owned by IAC/Inter Active Corp, the Internet holding company controlled by billionaire Barry Diller.