Designing dating apps in the age of coronavirus

The pandemic may have made people wary of going on real-life dates, but dating apps are using the lockdown period as an opportunity to help us nurture our virtual love lives. CR investigates the unstoppable rise of digital dating

The minefield that is modern dating has changed dramatically in recent years. Only a decade ago, admitting that you met your partner on a dating site would’ve been a source of secret shame, but these days if you’re single and not on at least one of the multitude of apps on offer then you’re probably the odd one out.

While the rise of the likes of Tinder, Bumble and Grindr indicates that the dating scene was already heading in a digital direction, the coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated this trend. Cast your mind back to April 5: the day that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital for coronavirus tests (before later going into intensive care) and the US had recorded 331,000 confirmed cases and nearly 9,500 deaths. It also happened to be the chattiest day on Tinder to date in the US, with members sending an average of 56% more messages compared to the start of lockdown in early March.

Top image: From Bumble’s recent campaign Time to Connect; the app’s video chat feature

On a global level, Tinder has recorded more members swiping right on someone new, having more conversations overall, and those conversations lasting longer since the start of the pandemic. Bumble has seen a similar surge in demand since the start of lockdown; in the UK alone there has been a 42% increase in video calls through the app, the average call length has increased to 30 minutes, and one in four chats have led to ongoing conversations between users.