In case you haven’t heard, all dating is online dating now. With bars and restaurants closed and would-be daters self-quarantined across the country, popular dating apps like Tinder and Hinge have rushed to accommodate a new era of virtual dating in which the video date reigns supreme and the possibility of ever taking a relationship offline is increasingly slim.
Various dating apps have added warnings advising users not to meet their matches in person, while others have added or updated features to help ease the transition from online dating to online-only dating, including new in-app video chatting capabilities, Tinder’s expansion of the Passport feature allowing users to match with each other worldwide, and new updates to Tinder U designed to allow college students to keep in touch with their campus communities.
But while younger singles appear to be clinging to dating apps more than ever before, the over-30 set seems less inclined to seek comfort and company on the apps amid the pandemic. According to Match Group, which owns many popular dating apps including Tinder and Hinge, existing users under the age of 30 are having more and longer conversations on the apps, but new user signups among the over-30 crowd have slowed.
“While we have seen increases in engagement trends among younger users, we are seeing fewer new users joining our products,” wrote Match Group CEO Shar Dubey in a Tuesday press release. “This impact is most pronounced among users over the age of 30 and varies by region, depending on the level of COVID-19 containment,” Dubey continued, adding that business has “largely remained intact” in well-contained areas such as Japan and South Korea.
The age disparity makes sense. While existing app users may naturally turn to dating apps as a source of human connection and social engagement when such opportunities are otherwise sparse, older dating app virgins may be understandably less willing to leap into the world of online dating at a time when it is entirely severed from the familiar shores of its in-person counterpart.
Nevertheless, “This pandemic has reminded everyone of the deep importance of human connections and relationships,” wrote Dubey, assuring online daters that the apps we knew and loved in the pre-pandemic era will still “be there to continue to help people find dates, relationships and love.”
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