Love is the human race’s helpless addiction. We look for it constantly-if perhaps subconsciously- in a way that goes beyond seeking the ideal partner. We look for it so desperately that it becomes our ideal outcome rather than the qualities we might want in another person. Love is our soulmate, love is ‘The One’. Our obsession with the concept of love has turned it into a huge money spinner, a thriving industry.
In 1995, Match.com became the first ever dating website. Thirty years later and it operates in 25 countries with over 20 million users. But since then, online dating has become even more profitable. Match Group owns Plenty of Fish and Tinder amongst other popular dating apps. It has an estimated profit of $309.6 million having risen by nearly $100 million since the first quarter of 2014. Its share prices are also expected to rise by 0.11% in months to come. The online dating industry is not one which seems to be faltering. Its attraction? Quick access to sex and the ease of having thousands of possibilities for love at your fingertips. It’s that search for love which keeps us frantically swiping through tinder; too quickly to really notice each person. That vague anecdote about your friend of a friends cousin who met her husband after a romantic exchange of swipes, keeps you hoping that you too can achieve that elusive Tinder Love.
The love industry is not just dating apps. Think of all those RomComs dedicated to the single lady, ending with her in the arms of a tall, dark and handsome fella. In June 1998 Carrie Bradshaw and her friends made their debut in Sex and the City. For six years viewers followed Carrie’s relationships: from the bad, to the good, to the Big. Carrie Bradshaw became a style icon and Sarah Jessica parker became famous with an estimated net worth of $90 million. The series was so popular that two films followed, the second with a production budget of $65 million. Cue the entrance of Bridget in 2001 (based on the 1996 best selling novel by Helen Fielding), making granny pants okay and gracing us all with her inability to choose between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. Two subsequent films and Bridget’s search for love is still one of the worlds favourites: Bridget Jones’s Baby took $212 million at the Box Office. Fast forward to 2008 and a whole new generation of single women looking for love were forged watching Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging. We cringed when Georgia’s legs looked like giant cheese puffs and cried when Robbie realised that she was “just a perfect nutter”. A 14 year old on the path to entice her cosmopolitan, ‘sex god’ took in $14.92 million at the Box office.
From Anniversary presents to Christmas presents and Birthday presents, picnic dates to drinks at the pub and romantic getaways: every penny you spend on, or with, your significant other goes into the blooming love industry. All the way down to that tub of heartbreak ice cream and bar of break up chocolate. After all, the love industry doesn’t just thrive from us seeking love but from our attempts to sustain it and us eventually letting it go. The truth is that after the loss of love we will subconsciously seek it again, almost immediately, and so the industry will continue to flourish until we break out of this potentially endless cycle.