A dating app? That too in India? But isn’t that sacrilege, a violation of the country’s traditional values and culture? Do Indians even date? Don’t Indian men and women just marry people their parents choose for them and live happily ever after? Or not.
Strangely enough, a lot of the above isn’t just conjecture. According to media reports and statistics available, a whopping 90 per cent of marriages are arranged by families in India. Newspaper adverts, matrimonial websites and relative referrals are largely relied on to find the perfect match – either a wife who is “homely and can cook Indian meals” or a husband “who works in a multinational company, earns a six figure salary and has a house and a car.”
Hardly the kind of market a dating app would thrive in, right? Wrong.
US-based dating app Tinder seems to be witnessing explosive growth in India. According to reports, the company’s app download grew by 400 per cent in the country in the past year and more women were downloading it than men! In fact, the company has zeroed in on India as the first overseas country from where it will launch international operations.
So, what could be the reason for Tinder’s success in India? Has the app become sanskaari to ensure survival in India’s rather traditional marriage market? Strangely enough, women seem to be the focus as potential users of the app in India, not men as we would like to believe. And it’s not just about dating anymore, one can use the app to hook up with like-minded people or people with similar interests online.
It is possible that India’s fast growing smartphone user base has served as bait for the company. A report by IAMAI and KPMG projected that India will reach 236 million mobile internet users by 2016, and 314 million by 2017. That is some growth!
While there are other dating apps such as TrulyMadly, Woo, Krush and iCrushiFlush already in existence, Tinder’s Sanskari avatar may change the face of courtship in India. The app has added a feature of displaying education and job details of users globally. If reports are to be believed, the number of requests for adding this information was the highest from Indian users.
Will Tinder’s algorithm change facilitate the Indian youth’s quest for love or will it serve as matrimonial research for negotiating dowry? Only time will tell. At Digiqom, we are tracking this space for user insights. Email me if you have an experience to share!