All of a sudden, the medium of dating that was viewed as “for the desperate” became the new normal
Dating apps (or any sort of online dating), while widely used, haven’t always been “socially acceptable” in the public eye. The idea of meeting your potential partner on an app versus, say, through friends or family, was once viewed as embarrassing or desperate, something requiring a cover story of a fabricated “meet cute”. But amid the Covid-19 pandemic, such dating styles have become a necessity.
Though entire industries, like entertainment and transportation businesses, have been hobbled by the pandemic, virtual dating and dating apps continue to thrive. After all, just because people are physically separated doesn’t mean they have to remain socially isolated.
And dating apps and virtual dating fit the admittedly unique mood of 2020 for a couple of key reasons.
- Virtual dating meets demands of the current climate
In the era of social distancing, dating apps aren’t going anywhere.
Don’t get me wrong. Tinder, the most popular of dating apps, fell from its place as the 123 most downloaded app on Google Play Store to one of 197, in March 2020. However, considering the novel pandemic, needs other than finding a mate may have driven up the popularity of varied apps, many of which were targeted towards telecommunication, physical well-being, and mental well-being.
Even with that decline in apparent popularity, Tinder grew 31% in YOY revenue by end of March 2020; its user base increased by 28%. So, the pandemic obviously encouraged potential users to sign up.
In fact, considering everything going on, virtual dating is just so convenient. With over 8,000 sites that cater to various interests for those looking and a plethora of apps, virtual dating is an easy way for people to browse though a multitude of potential mates from the safety of their bedroom. The alternative to doing so would be forgoing dating completely until the pandemic is over, something young singles are not likely to do.
Like Tinder, the most downloaded non-gaming app in the world, along dating apps Hinge, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel and more, all reported rises in numbers of users since March 2020. Bumble, for instance, saw 26% more messages sent and 56% more video calls during March alone.
The answer is simple. If people want to date while also remaining physically distance, they’ll have to resort to virtual dating. It’s safe and it’s easy and since the start of the pandemic, it’s been on the rise. Whether or not relationships that depend on a Wifi connection can sustain themselves is something else, but for now, this might be the best that we have.
2. Virtual dating is a cheap way to weed people out (because we have no money)
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, when affordability referred only to cost, and not to a potential sacrifice of your health, dating apps were a cheap but though, admittedly, superficial way to weed through potential mates.
So, let’s pretend you’re living in New York City and want to get to meet someone for a date. You’ve got your cab ($20) or Metro-card ($3) to midtown where you go to dinner ($60) and drinks ($24) and then maybe a movie ($20). Afterwards, prepare to pay for that transportation cost once again for a date that’s about $127 dollars, not to mention time and effort.
In fact, the cost of a physical date averages about $100.00, though this varies by state.
Meanwhile, the cost of virtual dating (or Zoom dates), a phenomena that has seen a substantial rise of 40–90% since the start of Covid-19, is nothing. Or, it’s the cost of a subscription service, or maybe, the cost of one party venmo-ing the other for takeout.
In fact, the acceptability of video-chatting among casual daters has risen a shocking 6% to 69% in the coronavirus landscape, showing the willingness of singles to suggest to a trying time for dating.
And the result is often the same, though something can be said for an in-person connection. Still, you’ll know whether you want to invest your time and your emotional energy into pursuing the other party, for about $100 dollars less and no chance of corona.
So, compare the cost of an in-person date against our failing economy, our job insecurity, and a highly transmissible virus. People can’t drop the biological need for social or romantic connection, but they can certainly be constrained by the cost of it. Virtual dating allows people to continue to fuel the former without comprising the latter.
3. Virtual dating boosts confidence
2020 hasn’t exactly been a stellar year. But even if you’re signed up for an online match service or dating app and don’t except to venture out of your house anytime soon, it can still do wonders for your mental health.
After all, researchers have previously found that the main motivation of women using dating apps was not the need to find love, but to their boost self-esteem.
Dating apps are a safe way towards a confidence boast. Most of them operate under a form of the user only being matched with someone who also finds them attractive thus circumventing the sting of rejection.
And with 43% of users accepting someone they have no intention of meeting or virtual dating with, it does seem that something else is at play. But the thrill of attraction or being found attractive has a direct and severe positive correlation with mental well-being, in a time when it’s been free-falling. Virtual dating allows this to be hand fed to us in our homes.
After all, in 2020, while we’re stuck, alone, home, bored with our social lives, our jobs, and our health all at risk, who wouldn’t enjoy some positive affirmation?