If you have a specific dating need to be fulfilled -- from the sacred to the scandalous -- there's probably a site for you, many with their own apps as well. That's where it's heading."Among the satisfied customers are Melissa Levine, 27, a physician assistant, and Corey Pew, 29, an engineer.
The niches range from ethnic, religious or age-based to sites for occupations (Farmers Only.com) or eating preferences (Veggie Date.org). They met on the niche site JDate, for Jewish singles, and will marry next month."As an engineer, you don't meet a whole lot of girls on a daily basis," says Pew, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. Levine was moving there as well and started looking online for Austin daters.
Exponential growth In less than two decades, online dating has soared and is "in the growth phase of its economic life cycle," says an IBISWorld report.
Though 18- to 29-year-olds make up the biggest chunk of users, with 30- to 49-year-olds next in line, demand is expected to increase with the north-of-50 crowd, too.
More than one-third of Baby Boomers are unmarried, and as more and more migrate to the digital world, the industry is beginning to target this unattached and largely underserved market.
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Melissa Arseniuk, 30, isn't leaving her dating life to chance.
She's a paying member of the dating website How About We and also uses the mobile app Singles Around Me.
Arseniuk, a writer in New York, plunged into both about six months ago after the end of a three-year relationship. "I could be at a coffee shop or meeting a girlfriend and she's running late, so I could fire up the app and see who's around," she says.
"It's kind of a good supplement to the more traditional Web-based dating sites.
It's about exploring all avenues and putting yourself out there."STORY: Author: Online dating changed everything As online dating revolutionized romance in America over the past decade, the proliferation of dating apps is now taking love to a whole new level, remaking an industry that's expected to reach .2 billion this year.
The mobile dating segment is projected to double its revenue over the next five years.
This Valentine's Day, fewer singles searching for love are tethered to laptops or those other technological relics: desktops.