Older singles are booming in matchmaking


A newly married senior couple walk hand in hand at a group wedding in Qingdao, Shandong Province. WANG HAIBIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Pursuit of Love Creates Market Worth Up to 50 Billion Yuan, Boosts Development of Related Industries

What are the chances of finding true love in your 60s?

Beijing resident Li Huichun, 65, whose husband died about seven years ago, said she was ready for a new life partner.

But leaving that to fate seemed too uncertain, she said, so she became a premium member of an online dating app designed exclusively for seniors.

Li is just one of many elderly people who have come to the same conclusion. Across China, more than 50 million middle-aged or older singles (those 50 or older) are looking for love and marriage.

This has created a market worth between 30-50 billion yuan ($ 4.7-7.9 billion), according to AgeClub, a consulting and incubation services platform focused on healthcare companies. the elderly.

“With the rapid growth of the senior population, there is an increasing demand for matchmaking for those in need. Although they have limited means of finding new partners, they have demonstrated a strong willingness and ability to pay for services, ”said Duan Mingjie, Founder and CEO of AgeClub.

Common ways for middle-aged and senior people to meet potential new love interests include matchmaking events in parks, reality shows and online dating platforms, according to a report from AgeClub.

Duan said that in general, single women in this age group are more willing to pay for matchmaking services than men and are more active in both online and offline events.

Today’s middle-aged and elderly people, who, as a group with higher income, better health and higher levels of education than previous generations, are shifting their priorities from ” save more “to” pay more to enjoy life, “which is a major growth driver for the matchmaking business, said Wang Bairong, analyst at LeadLeo Research Institute, a market research provider.

Members of the current generation of seniors are adopting more recreational activities and are familiar with the Internet, Wang said.

“The growing need for matchmaking and the strong purchasing power of middle-aged and senior citizens have also propelled the growth of businesses such as senior beauty care, senior-friendly travel and salons. of tea to get together with others. The market has great potential, ”she said. The market for these companies is estimated at around 7.9 billion yuan.

“It’s not like it used to be, when people thought it was a bit ashamed to dress, go out with someone and remarry at an old age,” said Li, a Beijing resident. “I know in some places it is still the norm for older people to live with their adult children and care for their grandchildren, but my family wants me to pursue my own happiness at this age.

“Growing old alone is not pleasant, and I need companionship, someone to share my feelings with. Plus, older people are prone to health issues, and it’s nice to have someone. ‘one around me in an emergency, like my only child. now lives overseas. “

Fear of loneliness and death is a big motivator for middle-aged and senior people deciding to test the waters of dating again, according to Shi Wei, an AgeClub analyst. Often times, they’re looking for a new face, someone they don’t know well yet, Shi said.

“Seeing changes in the body can increase the fear of illness and death. Some middle-aged and senior people also often feel a sense of emptiness.

“Often even their sons and daughters cannot help them deal with such mixed feelings, and that is why they need a new life partner, someone their age who could get to know them better and make good companions when sick, ”Shi said. .

In addition, many middle-aged and senior people hope to regain the feeling of being young and passionate, as well as to find love, through these dates, Shi said. Romantic desires motivate them as well, Shi added.

As the growing need for matchmaking services aimed at middle-aged and senior people has become evident, business operators are actively seeking opportunities in the market.

“Meeting people at matchmaking events at local parks has been a traditional way to find a date. But many older people who have tried this have had little success and a high risk of fraud, due to the lack of oversight mechanisms, ”said LeadLeo’s Wang.

“Reality TV shows that offer matchmaking services for middle-aged and senior people have been around for many years, and some of them have outperformed others with higher viewership and stable audiences. “she said. “The sector has also seen the development of upstream and downstream activities, constituting a relatively mature trade chain,” added the analyst.

Some of the most popular reality shows aimed at older viewers include Choice on Beijing Television’s Life Channel, Peach Blossom on Hubei Television’s Commercial Channel, The Pursuit of Happiness on Suzhou Television, Never Too Late to Meet You on Jilin Television, and Liaoning’s Choice of Love on Television.

Recently, the latter two have sparked heated discussions about dating seniors and remarriage. Some of the participants’ live conversations, such as why women often bear the heaviest burden of caring for family members, have gone viral on social media platforms. Social media influencers, who have made short videos of attendee interactions and commented on their dating patterns, are also seeing increasing numbers of subscribers, driving both traffic and money to their channels.

“As the use of smartphones has become more common among seniors, around 44% of them surf online as their primary form of entertainment. The market potential for online dating for seniors is also quite considerable, ”Wang said.

Yidui, which means “a good couple” in Chinese, is an online dating platform and mobile application. Baidu’s index analyzing user demographics shows that in Yidui, users aged 50 and over make up 46.5% of the total.

In June 2020, Yidui completed its B-cycle investment led by Xiaomi and Sky9 Capital. The app had received an investment totaling nearly $ 100 million by the end of 2020.

As an online matchmaking platform whose revenue comes in part from subscription fees, Yidui has worked hard to get users to pay for more personalized services.

An elderly person registers for the “Single Elders” twinning event held in Qingdao. WANG HAIBIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

Invitations to become a premium member from time to time appear in pop-up windows, indicating that subscribers, for 98 yuan per year, receive additional services, such as seeing who has browsed their profile and sending virtual gifts to other users. .

“Besides premium membership fees, online dating platforms also add to their revenue through advertising and marketing extras such as virtual flowers,” said Duan of AgeClub.

Unlike traditional matchmaking platforms, Yidui has online matchmakers who introduce possible dates and arrange for them to meet via the live broadcast. Yidui’s online matchmakers are paid through users’ virtual gifts and thank you money.

By the end of 2020, Yidui had over 40 million registered users and over 40,000 matchmakers online.

More and more online platforms and mobile applications specifically designed for senior dating and dating services have sprung up, including Zhiji (find someone who knows you well) and Duiban (the right partner). of life). Most platforms require users to register with their real information.

“Some middle-aged and senior users of online dating platforms are unwilling to provide their true information on personal profiles, and are reluctant to let others know that they are using the platform, making it difficult for them to platforms to distinguish user fraud as well as promote it to a wider range of potential users, ”said Shi of AgeClub.

Shi said that despite the growing need for matchmaking and the increase in the number of more open-minded people, there are still quite a few middle-aged and elderly people who are worried about the opinions of their children. and potential financial conflicts between their families and the families of new partners.

Some choose to try the matchmaking platforms without thinking, while others simply choose to live together rather than get married.

“In order to better serve these people, matchmakers need to have a better understanding of the psychological and physical needs of the group, ensure their privacy is protected, offer to conduct extensive background checks that include the opinions of their children and property distribution intentions before and after remarriage, and provide other individualized services, ”said Wang of LeadLeo.

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