People celebrate Valentine’s day in many different ways. Perhaps with a romantic dinner with a lover, or by sending roses to a crush, or (according to all romcoms) by getting drunk and hanging out with your cat. The least romantic thing I can think of, however, is downloading a dating app. Allow me to emphasise: there’s nothing wrong with online dating and, increasingly, it’s how people meet and fall in love. Having said that, it’s not exactly the kind of cute story that we want to tell our grandchildren.
Of course, this doesn’t stop people from flooding dating sites. Recent statistics from India suggest that Bumble was downloaded 13,500 times per day in early February, and Tinder clocked in at 15,500. QuackQuack, a dating site exclusively for Indians, outstripped them both with 16,000 downloads per day. It was also the most downloaded dating app on Valentine’s day.
There’s a lot to consider here. Firstly, whilst those numbers seem incredibly high, the population of India (as of January 2022) is 1.4 billion, so as a percentage of the population, there aren’t that many people on any (or all) of the dating apps. There are also cultural issues to think about: Tinder does well in places like the UK, the USA and Brazil, all of which have one widely-spoken language, which obviously makes communication much easier. In India, there are far more languages, and whilst many people speak more than one language, it would be difficult to speak Hindi when your mother tongue is Urdu. QuackQuack might be able to focus more time and resources on looking at Indian dating culture and the specific requirements of the country, in a way that Tinder and Bumble aren’t able to replicate.
It certainly is possible that, for example, a UK-based and exclusive dating app could become more popular in the UK than international sites like Bumble and Tinder. An English QuackQuack – would it still be called QuackQuack? Ducks all speak the same language! Perhaps QuackQuack-GodSaveTheQueen would be a better option – would, similarly to the Indian QuackQuack, be able to look at British culture, identify dating hotspots and know which demographics and locations to target because of the native knowledge. A load of Americans living in LA, or wherever Tinder’s headquarters are, won’t understand Indian culture or British culture, which might prevent them from having the necessary insight required to really capture the public attention.
However, a cultural juggernaut like Tinder is a lot to take on, as QuackQuack is surely aware. Dating sites, much like social media, gain users by appearing popular. Nobody wants to be the only person on an app – all alone, with nobody to talk to. The established reputation of Tinder and Bumble means that anyone who casually considers using a dating site and isn’t committed enough to researching the best option for their specific desire is likely to simply click on the most famous option, such as Tinder. Say what you will about the site, but it certainly has name recognition and plenty of users.
This might be the reason that a UK-exclusive dating site wouldn’t work. Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, PoF are all really well established and will easily be more recognisable than a startup, even if it’s been going for a few years. Through this blog, I’ve looked at lots of sites that will probably fail because people either assume that they don’t have any users or because, when they think of dating apps, their mind leaps to a more popular site. Wildly expensive advertising campaigns are trying to change that, of course, but there’s a good chance they’ll be unsuccessful. Perhaps Tinder and Bumble were never that popular or widely known in India, which is why QuackQuack has been able to dominate the market.
The appeal of other countries.
There’s one final thing to consider. Because there isn’t the same language barrier, many UK-based dating apps try to establish themselves in North America, where there are far more people and therefore is a larger market. The temptation is understandable, and so why wouldn’t a plucky young tech geek with a dating app, complete with some ridiculous gimmick, try to take her idea to Silicone Valley instead of roughing it out in Slough? Perhaps any UK-originated site is doomed to swim the Atlantic, possibly drowning in the attempt, in search of the greener pastures in some post-gold goldrush.
QuackQuack might have the stupidest name I’ve seen for a dating site, but it’s done something incredible. It’s unseated titans in the world’s second-largest country, and now thousands are flocking to it. I don’t know if the same thing could be replicated in the UK, or if the combination of language, location and culture simply works perfectly to doom an attempt. Perhaps if QuackQuack goes global we’ll see a plucky British app come to cast down the king, in the same way QuackQuack has done to the current dating royalty.