Made-In-India Relationship Apps Woo You

Made-in-India apps — the likes of QuackQuack, TrulyMadly, and Aisle — are wooing Internet users in smaller towns.
Indian consumers spent close to $10 million in 2022 on dating and friendship apps.

Most Indians still find their spouses the way their grandparents did — at least 90 per cent of marriages in the country are said to be arranged — and the divorce rate here is among the lowest in the world.

It comes as no surprise then that dating — still a new phenomenon outside the big cities — is tinged with India’s uniqueness.

Information gleaned from dating app companies shows that those in the smaller towns look for long-term friendships, instead of an evening out or a one-night stand, and do not mind if the ‘friend’ happens to live far away.

They are of an older age profile and willing to pay a subscription. Some — especially men — might need a crash course in how to chat with the other sex.

Home-grown dating apps are leveraging these to give multinationals such as Tinder and Bumble a run for their money.

The two have cornered the Tier 1 relationship landscape but it is the made-in-India apps — the likes of QuackQuack, TrulyMadly, and Aisle — that are wooing the burgeoning Internet users in smaller towns and building a revenue model centred on subscription, instead of advertising.

The stakes are rising. Indian consumers spent close to $10 million in 2022 on dating and friendship apps. That is more than double in the pandemic year of 2021, which itself was a year of surge for online dating.

According to intelligence, social media and dating was the largest category in consumer spends in 2022, adding an impressive $31 million. The second-largest category — utility and productivity — added only $7.2 million.

“Unlike in the big cities, where people look for matches within a kilometre or so, we found that proximity does not matter much to users in the smaller towns,” said Snehil Khanor, founder and CEO of TrulyMadly.

Agrees Ravi Mittal, founder and CEO of QuackQuack: “Since these cities are small, the number of users is constrained and the chances of finding a date are less. So they prefer to connect with people from all over India and keep friendships alive.”

The age dynamic has a bearing on revenues. Older users are financially more sound and willing to pay subscription money.

“The average age of our users is 26 and above,” said Khanor.

TrulyMadly has 12 million users and, though it is early days, nearly 600,000 pay for extra features and access.

QuackQuack adopted subscriptions early on.

“When we launched in 2010, we got our first paid user within three months. That was validation that this will work. We are sure that our subscription base will grow to 20 to 30 per cent in the next few years,” said Mittal.

Tinder and Bumble have a subscription option for extra features, and also earn from advertising. The indigenous apps do not focus on ads. Mittal says QuackQuack’s entire revenue comes from subscriptions and that it has been profitable from early on.

Khanor of TrulyMadly echoes this. “In India the ad experience is not good. Besides, we have seen that people are willing to pay if the user experience is good,” he said.

Subscription performs another critical function: It keeps out the frivolous user, adding to the trust that is much needed for attracting small-town users.

“Our one-week subscription starts at Rs 699 and we have deliberately kept it high as it keeps out the non-serious users,” said Khanor.

He sees TrulyMadly’s user base touching 40 million in the next five years, of which the paid user base will be around 3 million.

At QuackQuack, subscription starts at Rs 299 a month and goes up to Rs 6,400 for a year, depending on age groups.

It has 22 million users now, of which 10 million were added in the last two years alone. At present, 5 to 6 per cent of its users pay, and it is a start.

Dipping into the psyche of the Indian partner-seeker appears to be working.

QuackQuack says it sees 25,000 downloads a day. The cumulative number of downloads so far is 19.6 million, having grown 48 per cent in March over the same month of 2022.

TrulyMadly has close to 14 million unique users and repeat downloads — users end up downloading the app two to three times – are more than 20 million.

Tinder, according to media reports, had a total user base of 40 million in India in 2021. Bumble’s India user base could not be confirmed. Tinder did not respond to an email on its India user base, growth and trends.

Subscription is not the only barrier the Indian apps use for ensuring the quality of users.

On TrulyMadly, users who connect their Aadhaar or go through an authentication process using selfie verification get a 60 per cent trust score, which gets them access to virtual speed dating.

A higher trust score also means 90-second audio or video calls with the match.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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