Dating Apps Hit Sweet Spot During Covid

Dating Apps Hit Sweet Spot During Covid

Written by: Stephanie Bariatti, SMB Media Marketing Consultant 

            Dating and Covid.  Those sound like two things that should definitely not go together.  Yet, interestingly enough, dating apps are on the rise, even as social distancing orders are still in effect.  


            Match, Tinder, eHarmony, OKCupid, JDate, Grindr, Christian Mingle, Plenty of Fish, OurTime… and the list goes on and on and on.  We’ve all heard (or perhaps personally experienced) both the horror stories and success stories.  There are dating apps for everyone.  And they are all working overtime this year.  According to eMarketer, the number of smartphone dating app users in the US will reach 26.6 million this year.  That’s an 18.4% increase from 2019.



            Just as we’ve adapted and found new ways to do nearly everything during the pandemic, people have adapted to making their love connections online.  That’s not to say that dating apps weren’t popular before Covid - they were.  But we are seeing a surge in first-time users and users who are giving it another try.


            This sounded shocking to me at first, but I realized that was only because I was focusing on the physical aspects of dating.  But, like everything else right now, virtual is the name of the game.  And then you realize just how simple it is.  Humans crave connection, perhaps now more than ever during these trying times.  And there’s nothing more convenient than logging into an app on your phone and doing it from the comfort of your home.  Especially when you’re spending so much time in your home.   


            In its Q2 2020 letter to shareholders, Match Group—whose portfolio includes Tinder,, OkCupid and Hinge—reported an uptick in usage across demographic groups.  “Usage levels for younger users and females remain above pre-Covid levels, although not as dramatic as at the height of the pandemic-related lockdowns in March and April,” Shar Dubey, CEO of Match Group, said.  “Additionally, usage among older demographics and males, which initially declined with the onset of the pandemic, has recovered and is now above pre-Covid levels.” 


            The average number of subscribers grew 11% to 10.1 million, up from 9.1 million last year, according to Match Group’s Q2 2020 results, announced earlier this month.


            Dating apps began to see a lot more activity at the start of the pandemic.  In an April 2020 survey from The Harris Poll, US adults said they were more frequently using social media (50%), virtual meeting sites (33%) and dating apps (11%).  Morning Consult polling from the same month revealed that 6% of US adults were spending more time on dating apps, while 43% reported no change in usage.


            “Total daily messages sent across all of our products and daily average swipes at Tinder are higher today than they were at the end of February,” Duby also said.  In addition, Tinder claims that the average chat now lasts between 10% and 20% longer compared to February, with users getting involved in conversation topics related to well-being, mental health and the coronavirus.  So users aren’t necessarily rushing to an in-person meeting or hookup, but they are spending more time chatting about things that they might have normally discussed with a friend or co-worker.   


            Though the pandemic is certainly driving consumers to dating apps, user growth is expected to slightly decrease in 2021 and level off through 2023, as we get back to more normal activity.  But the good news for these apps is that they can confidently say, “Yes, it is possible to find love, or even just conversation, in isolation.”


Stephanie Bariatti works as a Consultant and Project Manager for SMB Media Consulting.  She has had extensive experience with many facets of advertising and media, having worked for and with creative agencies, production companies and research departments.  She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, three lovable little boys and a snuggly Golden Retriever.