You've heard that love is in the air, but these days, you may have better odds of finding it in the palm of your hand.
Not, perhaps, without some heartache: While dating apps — available in your smartphone's online store — promise you that true love is just one swipe away, these pocket-sized wingmen can just as easily leave you feeling like a wallflower at a high school dance.
Now, mobile research firm Sensor Tower has crunched some 2019 data that may help you decide which ones are most likely to deliver the result you want.
Its analysis showed Tinder, a product of Match Group, was the most tantalizing of the hundreds of apps available. It has been downloaded more than 12 million times in the U.S. alone, meaning its metaphorical sea has plenty of fish -- an adage appropriated, coincidentally, for the name of another Match dating app.
“Tinder ended up revolutionizing the dating world by trying to replicate 'real world meetings' where boy and girl walk into a bar, meet eyes, smile, and strike up a conversation,” said Bela Gandhi, dating coach and president of Smart Dating Academy, who noted that two-thirds of her clients have found love online.
With technology ever more present in our day-to-day lives, it’s no surprise that the apps have proliferated, Gandhi said. America's singles have now created an industry estimated to be worth over $2.5 billion, with a predicted annual revenue growth rate of 3.9 percent from 2018 to 2022 in the United States, according to Market Research.
“Our generation is widely known for using our phones for practically anything," said Sunny Chen, Sensor Tower market analyst. "More and more dating apps have popped up within the past few years, and it's almost become a 'norm' for singles to download and check them out."
Regardless of whether we're searching for lasting love or “something casual,” dating apps make it possible to encounter people we might never have met face-to-face.
"He asked me for drinks and he thought I was new to the city, but I had lived here for three years. I let him think I was new the whole evening...then I told him I lived here for three years. He got comedically mad and now we've been dating for two and a half months. Now, he makes me grilled cheeses."
Here are the top 10 last year, according to Sensor Tower's analysis of data from the Apple App Store, Google Play and other sources.
The platform, which launched in 2012 and dubs itself the “world’s hottest app,” says it sparks connections between more than 26 million people per day.
“Think of us as your most dependable wingmate. Wherever you go, we’ll be there." the platform promises. "If you’re here to meet new people, expand your social network, meet locals when you’re traveling, or just live in the now, you’ve come to the right place,"
Bumble comes in second, with more than 6.6 million downloads. Similar to Tinder, it's a location-based service that flips the typical social script by requiring that conversations be initiated by women.
“We empower women by giving them the ability to control the conversation when dating, finding friends, and networking online," the website says. "Bumble has made it necessary, and therefore acceptable, for women to make the first move."
The "unique" model has helped Bumble “achieve incomparably low reports of harassment and abuse,” it says.
Plenty of Fish
At least once in your life, possibly after you were ghosted by your latest flame, someone has told you “there are plenty of fish in the sea.” In the 21st century, they might be talking about an app rather than using a metaphor.
With just over 6 million downloads, Plenty of Fish comes in at number three.
Around since 2003, the Vancouver-based operation was acquired by Match Group, along with Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge and Match.com.
Plenty of Fish claims to connect more than 4 million people each day.
Hily comes in at number four with more than 4.6 million downloads. The app employs an artificial intelligence algorithm to connect “users who truly fit each other.”
Introduced in 2007, Hily was designed to solve many of the issues romantic hopefuls face, such as spam and suspicious activity, according to the app's founder, Alex Pasikov.
“Our main goal is to create the safest and fastest dating app in the world, where you won’t have to swipe through millions of users to find someone you truly like," said Pasikov.
The company believes location and appearance should not be the only criteria used to find a match. The app pairs people by their lifestyles, backgrounds, and interests.
With more than 350 employees working to connect users in a safe environment, Meet Me, a product of the Meet Group, comes in at number five. The app has attained more than 3.6 million downloads.
"A sense of belonging isn’t optional — it completes us," Meet Me's website explains. "Every aspect of human life is enhanced by meeting great new people – whether as a casual, fun encounter, a lasting romance, or any of the infinite ways people choose to come together."
The app allows users to see each other face-to-digital-face through video chat and live-streaming.
Hinge, yet another product of Match Group, clocks in at number six. The app, whose ads promise that it was “designed to be deleted,” has already garnered more than 3.3 million downloads.
It gives users a sense of a prospective date's personality through answers to prompted questions and personal information such as religion, height, and politics.
Users told FOX Business the prompts have made this new virtual reality more personal.
" I like that you can actually showcase your personality. Instead of swiping left or right, you can like a specific piece on their profile. It feels more personal."
Hinge prides itself on becoming a "power player" in the digital dating scene, and claims that three out of four first dates set up through the app lead to second dates.
"We quickly learn your type," according to Hinge. "You'll only be introduced to the best people for you.”
"This Irish guy I saw for one night — we were walking around Times Square after dinner, and he told me he thought he loved me. I was like: 'No, you don’t.' Needless to say, that did not work out."
Badoo, which relies on a location-based system of mutual likes, came in at lucky number seven, with more than 3.1 million downloads.
"Our mission is to provide the best technology for people to meet because happiness is better shared," the company said on its website.
Match, the website that morphed into a "mobile matchmaker," ranked eighth, with over 2.3 million downloads.
Founded in 1995, the company is considered a pioneer of the online dating industry. Like its competitors, the app allows users to check out profiles in their area, exchange messages and see who has looked at their profiles.
"Match is the free dating site where memberships become relationships. Looking anywhere else? You might as well be on Craigslist! Oh, snap!"
Zoosk, the online dating company that “personalizes the dating experience" to help romantic hopefuls find the right person, comes in at number nine.
The app, which the company says has more than 35 million members worldwide, has garnered more than 2.3 million downloads. It gives users advanced search filters in order to help them sort through prospective soulmates.
The app, also operated by Match Group, received more than 2.1 million downloads.
Its philosophy is that users should get noticed for who they are, not what they look like.
"On OkCupid, you’re more than just a photo. You have stories to tell, and passions to share, and things to talk about that are more interesting than the weather," the platform says.
More than 91 million connections are made every year and roughly 50,000 dates are made every week through the app, according to the company’s website.
If you made it to the end of this piece, it's likely that you've already ventured into the world of online dating or you're thinking about it.
If so, you may want to upload your profile — and do it fast — because now is peak dating season, according to Gandhi, the dating coach. The best time of year to date is from Dec. 26 to roughy Feb. 14, she said. Of that period, Jan. 5, 2020, is projected to be the busiest day of the year -- and in the history of online dating, according to Match.com.
"To find love in 2020, you'll want to change what you're doing to give you a fresh start because doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of insanity!"