xi's moments
Home | Newsmakers

Lovelorn look more to online dating sites

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-02-18 13:20

As people spend more time than ever before at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more lonely singles are reaching out to make connections through online dating platforms.

The trend helped to propel one of the popular dating sites Bumble to launch an IPO on Feb 11. The initial public offering has tripled Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd's net worth in a couple of days and made her a billionaire. Bumble is the second-largest online dating platform in the US with roughly 5 million users, after Tinder.

According to statista.com, a data company based in Germany, online dating revenue in the US has grown from $577 million in 2019 to $602 million in 2020, and is projected to grow to $674 million in 2021.

Correspondingly, the number of paying online-dating service users has increased from 6.2 million in 2019 to 6.4 million in 2020, while non-paying online dating users have increased from 36.5 million to 37.7 million in the same time.

According to webmd.com, toward the end of last year, popular dating site match.com reported that it experienced "a record-setting past few months in terms of user activity, engagement and dates happening through our app — with a 40 percent increase in people sending messages on our platform", said Match's chief dating expert, Rachel DeAlto.

DeAlto said that Match saw July busier than Valentine's Day — the typical "peak season" for dating-app usage.

Messaging on Hinge increased 30 percent. On OKCupid, virtual dates shot up by 700 percent, according to the report.

Data company Apptopia reported last November that the top 20 dating apps have gained 1.5 million daily active users in 2020, Marketplace reported.

Jen Filz, 38 of Milwaukee, started online dating for the first time when the city locked down.

"I'm a very social person," she told Marketplace. "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." She has joined Hinge, Tinder, Bumble and Facebook Dating.

While online dating activities have increased during the pandemic, the dating practice has changed somewhat because of COVID-19.

The change was illustrated by a humorous piece in New Yorker magazine, "How Dating During a Pandemic is Like Being in a Jane Austen Novel": "It's a long, drawn-out affair, composed of public meetings; the main characters lead quiet domestic lives; you regularly inquire about the health of each other's family members; eye contact and subtle gestures play an important role; you and your prospective future husband barely touch — just to name a few."

Some say that the pandemic helped them to be more open and to communicate more. WebMD reported that Jordan and Brittany Tyler, both 33 and professionals in Allegan, Michigan, met in March on match.com. They became engaged in May and married in July.

"We did a lot more talking, which escalated the [dating] time frame because we were both working at home and had more free personal time. We weren't going out during the lockdown, which ran until the second week in June," Jordan was quoted as saying.

"I didn't pretend to be somebody. At that first dinner, I cried and shared intimate things about myself. We talked so much by the time we met; it was very different," said Brittany.

Mae, a 24-year-old software developer who didn't want to reveal her last name for privacy reasons, went back to Chicago to continue to work from her apartment in August last year after spending about three months at her parents' house in Dallas during the initial lockdown.

"I work alone in my apartment, and I only see my friends occasionally out of concern for each other. I couldn't stand the loneliness anymore and decided that contracting the novel coronavirus is less a risk than feeling so lonely and possibly depressed," Mae said.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349