Online Dating Is Great—for Investors. For Customers? It’s Complicated.

Dating used to be about the end result. Its shift to an online business has made it about the journey.

That might not be great for the longevity of consumers’ relationships, but it should continue to benefit investors’ love affair with publicly traded companies like Match Group and Bumble. Match’s apps had nearly 100 million collective monthly active users as of the end of the first quarter. Meanwhile, the number of people willing to pay for so-called “freemium” dating apps continues to climb. Bumble’s namesake app and Match’s Tinder both had more than twice the number of paying users in the U.S. in May as they did the same month five years earlier, according to figures from research firm YipitData. Together, Wall Street expects Match and Bumble to generate well over $4 billion this year off their users’ quests to find…whatever it is they are looking for.