When Elizabeth Terzon’s marriage ended, she decided to search for love online.
She says she created a detailed online profile – spelling out her likes and dislikes – because she was looking for a serious connection, not just “wanting to connect”.
Ms Terzon, who is now in her 60s, says that at the time of her divorce 15 years ago, few people her age were using dating apps.
But now the stigma is fading, she says, and more and more baby boomers are trying to find their second love.
She still has the hope of finding hers.
Ms. Terzon is not alone in her quest to find undying love.
The COVID-19 pandemic has called into question the date of Australian singles, with stay-at-home orders and social distancing forcing more people to travel online to connect.
And it’s not just millennials who use dating apps anymore.
According to a recent report by research firm IBISWorld, Australia’s aging population means that baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) will be the main growth engine of the online industry over the next several years.
This suggests that as more and more of them divorce or become widowed, many more will try their hand at online dating.
Industry revenue – which includes the fees subscribers pay when they join online dating sites, as well as the revenue from those sites selling subscriber database information – is expected to increase at an annual rate. by 2.3 percent over the five years to 2026-2027, reaching $ 221.9 million.
“You don’t have to stop finding love at a certain age”
Local apps like eharmony and RSVP are now designing ads targeting seniors.
“The younger generation is open to exploration, to finding people. And you know, to experimenting more,” says Sharon Draper, psychologist and relationship expert at eharmony.
“Baby boomers tend to want to meet someone who has similar values and similar world views… someone who will help them have a more lasting relationship.”
Ms. Draper says as baby boomers become more tech savvy, they are recognizing the benefits of online dating.
“They realize more and more that you don’t have to stop finding love at a certain age,” she says.
She says the difference with older daters is that they’re more likely to want a serious relationship,
The COVID pandemic has not only driven more online daters, she says, but has also given older daters the opportunity to explore new platforms like video in apps.
“They realized that… they don’t have to park on a date just because they can’t leave their house.”
More people looking for common interests when dating online
But the threat of new entrants, coupled with the growth of foreign players like Tinder, is pushing local businesses to reassess their offering.
RSVP chief executive Dave Heysen said his organization is investing in algorithms that give all demographics, but especially older people looking for more serious connections, better matches.
Over the past 18 months, RSVP’s main growth driver has been the 55+ age group.
“But the over 40s are kind of the perfect place for us in terms of where most of our singles go these days,” he adds.
Mr. Heysen says that for these two age groups, interests become a more important part of people’s profiles.
“And we’ve found that people like it because they can strike up a conversation.”
Some women have had negative online dating experiences, but apps have started taking steps to better verify users, as well as allow people to hide, block, and report users who violate the terms of service.
Ms Terzon says she spends time chatting with people she thinks there may be a possibility of a real connection, and does her best to verify that they are who they claim to be before they go. meet them for a coffee.
She has had several dates over the years but is still waiting to find the right person based on common interests.
“I’m not looking for anything casual,” she adds before joking that “if George Clooney came, or maybe Johnny Farnham” she would go out with them.
She also encourages other Baby Boomers who are still unsure about trying online dating to “give it a try.”
“There are so many options – and you don’t have to pay anything until you feel like you’re really in it and really want to meet someone.”