The stay-at-home orders and social distancing rules issued across the country during the pandemic have created a major surge in business for online dating apps… along with major changes in the process of dating itself.
Since March, for example, the dating app OKCupid has seen a 700% increase in the number of its users going on “virtual” dates. And Tinder reported in April that it saw more than 3 billion users “swiping” to connect with potential dates on March 29, a new high for that popular app.
Once all those dating app users have connected virtually, many are choosing to get to know each other that way as well. Although many customary first date locations like bars and restaurants have reopened, an in-person meetup significantly increases the risk of contracting COVID-19, either from the potential date or another patron … not to mention the risk involved with any type of physical contact, even a casual hug.
So it’s no surprise that surveys recently conducted by online dating companies show their members are more willing to give virtual dating a try now than ever before.
A study recently conducted by Match – which owns and operates several online dating sites including OKCupid, PlentyOfFish, Tinder, Hinge and Match.com – found that while just 6% of singles were using a video platform to meet a potential date before the pandemic, 69% said they’d be open to video chatting with someone they met on a dating app as of mid-April. More than 20% of these respondents also said they would consider entering an exclusive relationship with someone they hadn’t even met in person yet, indicating an openness to entering new relationships mainly online.
Some experts believe that the pandemic has the potential to change dating permanently, as the lack of physical connections make emotional ones more important.