As the weather gets colder, and COVID-19 infection rates rise, Americans are heading indoors, isolating again and … going online to date.
Some predicted that online dating would take a hit from the pandemic. After all, who wants to risk infection by meeting with strangers?
People like 38-year-old Jen Filz, who started doing the online dating thing for the first time in March, as Milwaukee locked down. “I’m a very social person,” explained Filz. “So it was really hard for me to suddenly go from going out and talking to random people to having absolutely no interaction with anyone.” Filz has joined Hinge, Tinder, Bumble and Facebook Dating.
She’s part of a trend. Dating app usage is growing during the pandemic. According to data company Apptopia, the top 20 apps have gained 1.5 million daily active users this year.
Jonathan Kay, the founder of Apptopia, said it’s not just the big brand names in online dating that are growing. “We’re starting to see like a bunch of niche dating apps pop up as well, which I think are actually taking some market share away from larger players,” he said.
Apps like BLK for Black singles and Chispa for Latinx people.
It is, of course, that time of year known as “cuffing season”: when you wanna be tied to one person, because it’s getting colder, the holidays are approaching, and your nosy aunt is definitely going to ask if you’re dating someone.
But analyst Ali Mogharabi at Morningstar said it’s not just that. “You’ve got singles sitting at home wanting that interaction, a lot of them basically began using online dating apps even more,” Mogharabi said.
There are also signs hookup culture could be waning in the era of COVID-19, with infection a constant concern. Jen Filz of Milwaukee said she’s definitely noticed that “there’s a lot more like, ‘Hey lets try to like Zoom date or whatever else before we actually meet.’”
At least for the time being, her dates are exclusively on Zoom.
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How is President-elect Joe Biden planning to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic turmoil it’s created?
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What does slower retail sales growth in October mean for the economy?
It is a truism that we repeat time and again at Marketplace: As goes the U.S. consumer, so goes the U.S. economy. And recently, we’ve been seeing plenty of signs of weakness in the consumer economy. Retail sales were up three-tenths of a percent in October, but the gain was weaker than expected and much weaker than September’s. John Leer, an economist at Morning Consult, said a lack of new fiscal stimulus from Congress is dampening consumers’ appetite to spend. So is the pandemic.
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