The global crisis has transformed many aspects of our lives, and romance is no exception. Due to social distancing measures, stay-at-home orders, and other initiatives, internet-based dating is booming. The number of apps and the amount of time spent on them has skyrocketed. Developers have been successfully modifying their products to meet the needs of the audience. 

Of course, online hookups are not a novelty. Even decades ago, mail order brides were causing controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. Dating apps are designed to help users connect and meet in person, but have they adapted to the new reality?

Impressive Growth

For Tinder, 2020 was the busiest year ever. The app recorded an 11% increase in swipes and a 42% increase in matches. Clearly, the popularity of online dating has surged. Partly, this may be attributed to the changes made to such mobile systems. These mostly concerned three aspects. 

1. Health-Related Information

First, popular apps encouraged users to refrain from in-person meetings. For instance, members of Bumble received direct messages. Meanwhile, Tinder placed public service announcements on its swipe screen. On Grindr, users were informed that their urge to meet ‘right now’ may have negative consequences. This even contradicted the system’s core principles.

Overall, dating apps have done a good job as advocates for public health. They warned their members to stay home, follow the recommended sanitary measures and call the doctor if they experienced coronavirus symptoms. They also provided ideas for remote dates. 

 Effects of COVID-19 on Dating Apps 

2. Helping Users Cope With Isolation

The lockdown measures caused sweeping feelings of fear and isolation. Dating apps addressed the issues by hosting online events. There were concerts, advice sessions, and speed dating meetings. Grindr, Lex, Bumble, HER, and Coffee Meets Bagel all joined in. 

Dating systems also spread self-care messages on social media. For example, Plenty of Fish informed its Instagram followers of its new goal — to facilitate isolation without the feeling of being isolated. These messages conveyed moral support from companies and individuals.

3. Establishing the New Normal

Developers diversified ways in which users could date online. Aside from connecting through the apps, they could engage in different virtual activities and exchanges. Here are a few examples.

Members of Match, Bumble, Hinge, Jack’d, and Plenty of Fish were provided with free video calls. Rivals like OkCupid suggested the members use video conferencing software like Zoom, as well as more conventional methods like texts and calls. Finally, the tinder passport feature became free, so singles could specify their geolocation and connect with other members internationally. 

The Bottom Line

Popular apps responded to the pandemic by encouraging virtual dating and keeping users informed of precautions. Ideas for online dates, which had become the new normal, were spread through social media and blogs. They helped singles establish relationships during the crisis and overcome the feelings of isolation and loneliness.