Millions of people use dating apps to overcome social barriers, busy schedules and shyness in their hunt for "the one". Many have found themselves empowered but others tell of despair and, in extreme cases, threats of blackmail. With data provided exclusively to the BBC by analytics company App Annie, it is also possible to tell the story of the apps behind the phenomenon. Looking at 50 of the world's biggest app markets, two names dominated in Nearly a decade after it launched, Badoo had the top dating app in 21 countries. Tinder was the most downloaded dating app in 18 countries and came a close second to Badoo in many others.
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Most Downloaded Dating Apps by Country
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The fallout is the trip home, where you feel crushed and defeated and you know you're going back to square one to start the whole process again. The whole process is very addictive, but it's very soul-destroying. The addictive part tends to come mainly from the loneliness, which is the whole reason that we're on this and we're trying to find someone to keep us company. The dominance of Tinder and Badoo does not extend to East Asia, where each country has a very specific preference. In China, Momo is trying to escape its origins as a dating app and become a social network.
Shruti, 30, and Nitin, 31, live in Delhi and work in finance. They found each other on TrulyMadly, an Indian-made app, which came second to Tinder in terms of downloads in They got married in November.
Dating apps for country
Egypt and Saudi Arabia use apps that have little popularity beyond their borders. Apart from Egypt, the only other country where Frim has a foothold is Russia.
Aisha, whose name has been changed, is 42 and lives with her parents in Kuwait.
She does not want to reveal her identity because dating is not accepted in her culture. I'm trying to find some friends around the world. I'm trying to find people with an open mind, who are kind, intelligent, smart.
People who really try to know and discover others. I have a lot of traditions. But at the same time, I am of an age where I can recognise what is right or wrong. I tell them from the first day I am only offering friendship. Most of them don't accept - they want to take the relationship to a second level. But some of them say they need the same.
I have made more than five friends this way. They are very very unique relationships. But they know me very well and they know that I will not do something bad. At the same time, I have to be careful about the traditions, about my religion Badoo may be on top here, but in each case it only just beat Tinder. In South America dating apps are particularly popular compared with other apps. Deborah is 22 and lives in Sao Paulo. She works in film production, is single and uses Tinder and Happn.
I don't really like the feeling. It feels like you're hunting or being hunted. In Brazil, some of the guys in clubs are really pushy. Sometimes, they try to kiss you even if you don't want to. Even if you're shy, you can just swipe right on someone and start a conversation. Just be in the app for a few minutes and you can find someone to talk to at least. Tinder and Happn made online dating more accessible and less embarrassing to younger people.
You don't have to be ashamed of it any more, because most of your friends use it. The lack of good mobile internet in many parts of Africa means the app market is still in its infancy here.