Australian Chat Rooms Report. Latest Trends and User Analysis
About this Industry
Chat rooms and online dating, also called internet dating, is a system which allows contact and communication between individuals, couples, and groups with a view to develop personal, romantic, or general relationships. Using computers and smartphones, users are able to access unmoderated matchmaking from online dating service providers over the internet.
Generally, prospective members are required to give personal details like age, location, interests, and hobbies before they can start browsing profiles of potential partners. On most platforms, users can upload and check other users’ photos. Using the provided information and specially defined algorithms, the online dating platform can suggest possible matches to the users.
Online dating and chat rooms have grown rapidly over the last 10 years, more so over the last 5. It is the second most common way of starting a relationship, according to a study by psychologists at the University of Rochester in the US. It now beats conventional dating methods like pub and bar meetups and is second only to friends and family matchmaking. The growth in the number of users has been fuelled by:
- Increased internet usage
Australia, just like the rest of the world, has been experiencing a steady increase in the number of internet users over the last two decades. There are now 86% Australian households, representing 7.7 million, with access to the internet up from 65% in 2008. This increased dependence on the internet has resulted in more people using online services which also includes dating sites.
- Ease of Use Compared to Traditional Dating
Chat rooms online dating has attracted users over the years because of the ease with which you can find a partner with it. Compared to traditional dating where a person had to go to the bar or some other social meeting place with hopes of meeting a prospect, the internet has given users access to all types of people in a short time.
- Less Stigma Against Chat Rooms and Online Dating
Online dating has lost its stigma over the past 10 years. Consumers of internet dating services were long ago labelled as desperate and even social failures. Today, people from all sorts of backgrounds and across all ages are looking at online dating as an acceptable and even reliable option for finding their partners.
- Changes in General Culture
The recent trends in online dating have also been fuelled by changes to the wider social context which includes a rising consumer culture alongside greater personal independence. This has left people with less time, space and access to conventional forms of dating. At the same time, they now have improved access to ICTs. The combination of globalization, ICTs and the personal, emotional, and intimate have led to the growth of online dating.
- More Liberal Lifestyle
Australians have become less and less religious. And while religion-based niche dating sites and chat rooms exist, religion provided a kind of barrier from unconventional ideas including online dating. From 1976 to 2011, the number of religious young adults has reduced by over half. About 26% of all young adults in 2011 claimed to have no religion, a rise from 12% in 1976. Although the reduction is across the entire population, it is more pronounced among young people. This increased flexibility has made Australians more likely to tolerate such unconventional approaches as online dating.
Current Status and User Trends
Results Are Matching Up With Traditional Dating
A 2012 study by the University of Stanford revealed that the strength and quality of relationships initiated online were at par with results from conventional dating. Although the internet has made it easier for people to secure casual encounters, people who are after committed relationships are managing to find them online.
Chat rooms and online dating platforms in Australia may have additional services like live text chat, video chat, voice call (VOIP), and message boards. Some chat rooms and online dating service providers can be accessed for free while others may charge a monthly or yearly fee. There are different versions of online dating platforms designed to meet different needs and in different ways. Some of the different branches include:
- Niche dating
Online niche dating is a type of streamlined matchmaking where users with particular interests or characteristics can contact each other with hopes of starting a casual or committed relationship. There are hundreds of categories based on characteristics such as financial status, race, cultural background, body weight, sexual orientation, etc. Some categories are based on interests such as sports, music, vegetarianism, and veganism. There are even categories for people who love the same movies, and those that suffer from the same sexually transmitted diseases.
- Social dating
Social dating in Australia is a departure from the usual online dating setting where people communicate for weeks or even months before actually meeting. It focuses less on establishing a common ground before physically seeing each other. By browsing through profiles with suitable characteristics, users can initiate contact with potential partners. A casual chat follows which may soon lead to a less serious meetup. Social dating enables users to meet a number of potential partners in a short time. It’s less about meeting your spouse or long-term partner online, and more about just getting to physically meet a lot of people in a short time, from among whom may come your partners.
- Online personals
This is the modern version of newspaper personal ads. Websites for online personals do not require their users to invest heavily in a furnished profile. Instead of giving all their information on a profile, they can make short adverts where they state their details including age, gender, location and what they want exactly. In this case, searchers do not browse user profiles but look through ads instead.
The most notable change in chat rooms and online dating in Australia is the reduced stigma. The stigma has not been as prevalent among people of age 25 and below (as of 2016) as it has among the older generations. The younger population has spent most of their lives with the internet which makes them more approving of the idea of finding a partner via the web.
The wave of approval, however, has not left the older age spectrum intact. Some online dating platforms report a 20 percent user base of Australians over the age of 50.
A few services related to chat rooms and online dating have sprung up. These try to make users’ experiences easier and more effective.
Profile Writing Services
The importance of a well-written user profile can be seen in the emergence of professional profile writing services. Users may sometimes find it difficult to put the best of themselves in writing and these services promise to present their customers in a manner that makes them stand out.
Profile photos play an important role as far as first impressions go. Users can access professional photographing agencies meant specifically to increase their success rate on dating platforms.
Online Dating and Chat Rooms User Analysis
The prevalence of online dating varies across Australia both geographically and demographically. For example, urban areas have more users than the rural parts and there are variations related to age, gender and occupation among other aspects.
User Distribution According to Age
A decade ago, online dating was largely dominated by users aged 35-45. Today, more people across all age groups are beginning to accept the system. People under 35 currently make up to 45 % of the online dating market. Some platforms report 20% members over 50-years old.
According to Pew Research Centre, the percentage of 18 to 24-year-old online daters has grown from 10% in 2013, to 27% in 2015. 12 % of 55-64-year olds report to have used online dating, 6 notches up from 6% in 2013.
The biggest factor behind the increase in the number of young adult user is the current popularity of mobile dating apps. 1 out of 5 (20%) 18 to 24-year olds report using mobile dating apps a rise from 2013’s 5%.
User Distribution According to Location
The number of consumers of chat rooms and online dating services in a state or territory follows the population size, and the age distribution. Major Urban areas such as capitals and larger cities have higher proportions of young adults compared to other urban areas- 25% and 20% respectively. The less urban parts of Australia only have 16% of the population being young adults.
Statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory each have 29% of their population as young adults. The distribution can be attributed to the concentration of institutions of higher education within these territories. These offer the largest user base of online dating. Tasmania has the lowest proportion of the population that are young adults.
User Distribution by Gender
There is generally an equal number of men and women on dating websites. However, the ratios fall out of balance at different ages. From age 20 and below, there are more women than men using online dating platforms. Things change by the time they get to 21 when their desirability soars and their percentage on online platforms plummets. At age 36 and above, the ratios switch in favour of women. The offset is caused by the reduced number of older women being approached by men.
Another gender-based difference is that that men appear to take chat rooms and online dating as a way to skip the traditional rituals like pick-up lines and first date nerves. On the other hand, those early stages are still taken as a crucial part of the vetting process by women.
Women pay attention to quality over quantity. In this regard, they tend to be more selective about who the initiate communication with compared to men.
The issue of safety seems to be one women give more concern than do men. They generally feel less safe, and are slower to trust. The prevalence of fake profiles has not helped the situation.
User Distribution According to Marital Status
The number of users of online dating varies according to marital status. By percentage, the older divorced or widowed section of society tend to use the traditional bar or pub meetup less than the younger ones. A larger proportion of older divorcees that are actively looking or a partner are using online dating.
There are rampant incidents of Australians falling prey to elaborate financial scams on online dating platforms. In 2014, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) received 91000 scam complaints. Of a total of AUS$66 million (US 66 million) revenue lost through rip-offs, the biggest losses came from online dating
The number of people being tricked is generally on the decline. However, the large amounts of money scammers stole from individual victims evened out this decline. Ten percent of the victims lost more than AUS$ 10,000. 14 others lost over AUS$ 500, 0000.
The most common scammers are romance-based cons, managing to make Aus$28 million by tricking people into sending money to a fake admirer.
Coming in second are false investment schemes where victims are promised huge returns on fail-safe investments. Upon getting the funds, the scammers disappear.
Scammers gather information from social media platforms to increase their success rates at initiating fake romantic relationships with their victims.
Paid Vs. Free Sites
Both paid and free sites and free Australian chat rooms have pros and cons. Free online dating sites tend to have more users to choose from. They also have more young people attracted by the prospects of finding a mate without paying anything. Unfortunately, these sites are easily infiltrated by fake users with unscrupulous motives.
On the other hand, paid sites have less users. However, these tend to be more serious as there are few time wasters willing to pay the subscription fees for nothing. The fee also tends to put off would-be young users.
Online Dating Outlook in Australia
As people increasingly shop, learn, and get their leisure online, the same can be expected for online dating. There are no signs that the growth will slow down soon. More people are accepting the use of the service and technology is stimulating the growth with better internet in more places, faster devices and better apps and websites.