A Look Back at Dating in 2020 Through the Lens of Your Favorite Apps
Dating, along with pretty much everything else, looked a little different in 2020.
That said, there was no shortage of swiping — in fact, if anything, singles were even more eager to meet someone new who might quell that quarantine horniness and boredom. But with those swipes came a few adjustments. Social distancing guidelines forced people to either embrace Zoom and FaceTime if a social distanced hangout wasn’t on the table.
On top of that, the health and safety concerns relating to the pandemic forced app users to have some pretty serious discussions that might not come up otherwise.
Fortunately, EOY statistics from Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge suggest that all daters, whether looking for a hookup or a long-term relationship, have been adapting and evolving quite well in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, according to data provided by Bumble, its users across the globe made nearly 1 billion matches, sent over 7 billion messages in 2020, with a whopping 83% planning to use dating apps just as much as they do now going into 2021.
RELATED: What Will Dating Look Like After the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Hinge also reports that two out of three of its users are optimistic about dating in 2021, and feel confident that dating in the new year will be better than in 2020.
In other words, despite the fact that there are so many unknowns in the world right now, one thing is for certain: COVID-19 can’t cancel online dating. Here’s what app stats say about swiping trends over the last year.
Video Dating Became the “New Normal”
In 2020, lots of daters were using video technology to get to know their matches without exposing themselves to the risks that come with in-person hangs. Bumble reported nearly a 70% increase in video chat and call feature usage.
Tinder reported that “Zoom” mentions in casual conversation peaked during April, (right after the lockdown began in the U.S.), and video dating shows no sign of slowing down. Hinge revealed that almost half of its users have been on a video date, and of those users, the majority (52%) say they are likely to continue incorporating video chat into their dating process even when they’re able to meet up safely in real life.
COVID-19 Was a Hot Conversation Topic
Given that the pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our everyday lives, it makes sense why daters couldn’t seem to resist mentioning the coronavirus on their profiles and in conversations.
According to Bumble, 60% of its daters say it was a frequent focus of discussion in 2020. As far as the most popular topics go, 54% of daters chatted about Netflix shows they were watching during quarantine, while nearly 50% discussed the new normal of working from home.
Daters also didn’t shy away from the pandemic-themed pickup lines, either. On Tinder, mentions of ‘quarantine & chill’ took off in March, and users got increasingly creative with lines like, “Let’s be like the coronavirus and catch each other” or “Wash your hands so you can come hold mine.”
Things Got Political During a Historic Election Year
Some say not to discuss politics on the first date, but many swipers just couldn’t help themselves in the face of the historic 2020 election. Bumble’s data show that the election was a hot topic for 43% of its users, while Tinder reported that talks of voting doubled in 2020.
Moreover, 83% of users said the political opinions of their matches mattered, and on Tinder, while many users found creative ways to encourage people to vote on their profile, others saw voting as a vibe check for compatibility.
Support for the Black Lives Matter movement also became a must for many swipers. On Tinder, mentions of BLM grew 55x in 2020, eventually even exceeding the use of the term “hookup.”
Overall Approaches to Health and Safety Were a Dealbreaker
While attitudes about personal safety obviously varied significantly across these apps, the concerns were still on daters’ minds. Tinder revealed that mentions of masks and masked meet-ups peaked in July, and overall, increased nearly 10-fold during 2020.
RELATED: Dating During a Pandemic: First Date Precautions (And How to Discuss Them)
On Bumble, 85% of users indicated that they were interested in meeting up but socially distanced from one another, while nearly 15% stated they would prefer to keep the connection virtual.
People’s Mental Health Took a Serious Hit
Unsurprisingly, the isolation felt by many daters amidst the pandemic took a toll on their mental health this year. More than half of the daters on Bumble said they felt a sense of disconnection from those they are close to, and as a result, more than 2 in 3 daters experienced heightened loneliness in general and their romantic lives.
However, Tinder found that terms like “boredom” and “loneliness” peaked in March, which lends some hope that maybe the worst is behind us and mental health will continue to improve.
Swipers Started Getting More Serious
Daters started taking stock of what was really important to them this year. Hinge saw dating numbers go up and ghosting rates go down (huzzah!) as users became more intentional about making connections. More than 40% of Bumble users reported that they’re slowing down the “get to know you” phase, and women specifically say they’re more likely to focus on the qualities in a partner that are right for them.
Here are some more promising stats: When asked how the pandemic affected their relationship goals, over 50% of users reported adopting new healthy dating behaviors, including being more honest with their feelings and taking time to focus on themselves before diving into a relationship. Not only that, but more than half (53%) of the Hinge community admitted that they’re ready for a long-term, serious relationship.
Going into 2021, the top dating resolution for Hinge users is to not overthink their dating life and focus on being present as they get to know their matches. That totally makes sense given that one in three (38%) Hinge users report that the pandemic has led to them overthinking the little things.
Location Became Everything
According to Hinge, a notable 40% of users moved home with their families at some point during the pandemic. While online daters have the ability to quickly update their location to find matches in their local vicinity, it obviously posed challenges for singles who were looking for long-term connections, since most had plans to eventually move back to wherever they were living before lockdown began. Many Tinder users were able to take advantage of the app’s “Passport” feature to scope out singles who live closer to their permanent home — in fact, 16% of members used this feature in April, a 7x increase from 2019 averages.
The good news? Heading into 2021, 92% of Hinge users know where they will be living for the first few months, and 85% do not plan on moving. This physical stability will likely make it logistically much easier to invest in a relationship, an important detail as almost half (47%) of Hinge users plan on going on more dates in the new year.
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