Online dating, Britain's boom industry: Businesses contribute 170m to the economy as nine million Brits log on to look for love
Country has highest internet dating turnover of any European nationMore than nine million Britons have logged on to a dating site



02:11 GMT, 28 November 2012

Love is all you need, the Beatles said. But these days it helps if you have a computer too.

Online dating is becoming one of the most popular ways to find a partner.

More than nine million Britons are thought to have logged on looking for a perfect match.

They are contributing to a business that last year generated 170million for the UK economy.

Popular: About nine million Britons are believed to have logged on to internet dating sites such as eHarmony

Popular: About nine million Britons are believed to have logged on to internet dating sites such as eHarmony

That’s the highest turnover of any European nation last year, ahead of Germany with 164million and France with 99million.

Such is the demand here that Britain has produced 1,500 of Europe’s 5,000 dating websites.

We also offer the most ‘diverse’ range, from ‘cougar dating’ for men seeking older women, to ‘uniform dating’, in which users look for partners in the Armed Forces.


While two-thirds of Britons use
mainstream dating sites such as Match and eHarmony, another 2.8 million
sought out ‘erotic encounters’ on websites such as Sexintheuk.

The figures, which come from Metaflake, a company that reviews online dating agencies and runs, also show the UK market jumped 6 per cent last year.

The company estimates that a third of new
relationships now arise from the internet. But it warned that a quarter
of those surfing the web for a partner, particularly men, were already
in a relationship.

Chief executive Henning Wiechers said: ‘In the UK there is a longer tradition of using online dating and people are willing to spend more.’

Robert Bailey of added: ‘The British are just so enlightened and open minded and that’s why so many people try online dating.’

Psychologists from the University of Rochester in the U.S. warned earlier this year that dating websites were making people more judgmental.

Professor Harry Reis said that skimming over hundreds of potential mates can promote a ‘shopping’ mentality, resulting in single people becoming excessively picky.

Singletons who spent weeks or months emailing a potential mate before meeting them often had unrealistic expectations when they finally went on a date, he said.