Most businesses have taken a beating this year, but a lucky few have managed to weather – or indeed benefit – from The Bat Kiss.
One of them has been online dating services. Apps, websites and everything in between have been perfectly placed to deal with social distancing: we might have had to stay inside a bit more because of COVID but that hasn’t diminished the very human need for connection. If anything, it’s made us want it more: not only does the looming threat of a global pandemic and recession mean we could all do with some company but lockdown’s left us with little else to do but Netflix and chill.
While you’d think that an inability to travel would mean we’d be narrowing our search radius when it comes to finding love, data from OKCupid would suggest the opposite is true.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, connections and conversations across borders are up nearly 50% among singles, and people are setting their location preferences to ‘anywhere’ more than ever before,” the leading online dating website shared with DMARGE.
Looking back on data from the questions it uses to match people – a data pool of more 450 million responses from this year alone – OKC also report that more than 1.5 million people on their platform are now open to a long-distance relationship.
Perhaps this demonstrates how people have resigned themselves to the realities of 2020. To an extent, dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Grindr thrive on proximity: you’re more likely to match with people who are in close proximity to you. However, proximity has become less of a priority this year – with the risk of contracting COVID-19 outweighing (or rather negating) the benefit of a quick and easy meetup.
Indeed, another big trend that OKC’s data suggests is the rise of ‘slow dating’.
“As the pressure of rushing to meet up with someone IRL vanishes, we’re going to see a rise in ‘slow dating’ – a blend of deeper conversations and more romance through digital and virtual dating. Among 1 million respondents during lockdown, 84% of people on OKCupid think it’s important to have an emotional connection before a physical one.”
While restrictions are easing in some parts of the world, like Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam, other countries haven’t been quite so lucky. According to The New York Times, there are currently over 11 million confirmed cases in the United States, and many European countries including Britain, France and Italy are bracing for a ‘third wave’.
Looks like they’ll have to stick to online dating for the foreseeable future, then.