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Slow dating is back, courtesy, the coronavirus. Ever since the world shut down since March 2020, the rules of dating, like everything else, seemed to have undergone a major change. People go on virtual dates, and there are video chats and lengthy conversations, no one is in a hurry and everyone seems to be enjoying this phase of dating. Dating apps in particular have hit a jackpot. “During the lockdown, a whopping 91 percent of Indian respondents said they will continue to date, albeit virtually. This form of dating ushered in a new era of ‘slow dating’ in which millennials rediscovered the bliss of old-fashioned romance and took the time to get to know each other, ” said Anukool Kumar, director of marketing. OkCupid India.
In the past year, as more and more users signed up to find love in times of pandemic, popular dating apps like Bumble Tinder, OkCupid, QuackQuack, Hi, Aisle and Gleeden (the extramarital dating app) have redefined dating culture. With Valentine’s Day approaching, let’s take a look at how dating rules have evolved and explore how apps are pushing boundaries to help users date online.
From introducing more features to offering new activities on their platforms, apps have done everything they can to make virtual dating fun and engaging. For example, Bumble introduced new badges like Virtually, Socially-Distanced and Socially-Distanced with masks, to help their users connect better and skip the tough conversations about the kind of dates they’d like to get on. However, it was the video calling feature that was most used. “We saw a 38 percent increase in video calling and voice chat as a result of the lockdown restrictions since March 2020,” explains Samarpita Samaddar, Bumble PR Director India.
Tinder also added features such as video calling and an interactive game called choose your own adventure Wipe NightThe profiles also have a new Passions section, where users can fill in
from their hobbies that make it easier to meet like-minded people.
Another major update in these apps was how geographic boundaries are blurring. Men and women from across the border could virtually date. This is what led to the app Kwak Kwak introduction of the random chat feature. “Just for the lockdown, we introduced the Random Chat feature so that bored singles can randomly chat with anyone in India. We reversed this feature after unlocking. As people migrated back to their hometowns, we found users from all over India, rather than just the boundaries of their city, ”said Ravi Mittal, founder and CEO of Kwak Kwak
The pandemic also saw the launch of new players in the dating app market. Hey was launched in the middle of things, in August 2020. “We are a homegrown company and we felt this was a really good time for a domestic player to grow and gain an edge over foreign counterparts,” said Jitesh Bisht, DIRECTOR, Hey
Slow and steady
Leisurely conversations and exchange of messages increased during this period, unlike earlier times when people were ready to meet as soon as possible. Plus, the updated search features helped people find the right match without going through the usual hassle. “We have witnessed a 26 percent increase in conversations since March 2020. OkCupid‘s new matching system Stacks (which consolidates multiple detection methods into one) gave daters choice and control over who to match with through a range of new categories, ”explains Anukool.
The pandemic gave us time to stop and think about our lives. This also resulted in an increase in the number of men and women looking for serious partnerships. While flings were still around, the search for committed relationships became more popular. “As the lockdown got longer, boredom turned into loneliness. The lockdown reiterated people’s need for a partner rather than casual flings, ”said Able Joseph, founder and CEO, AisleThe couple Raunak and Saurav from Hyderabad, who will soon be engaged, met on Aisle. Saurav was looking for a serious relationship. “I was on dating apps, but I mostly found profiles of people looking for casual relationships. When I joined Aisle, there was clarity about like-minded people looking for serious relationships, ”says Saurav.
Aisle introduced Aisle December 2020 janitor for those looking for long term relationships. “With Concierge, they could browse thousands of manually created profiles and prioritize search results based on the factors that mattered most to them – from faith to native language and interests,” explains Able.
From Tinder The data and number of calls in India increased by an average of 39 percent and the average duration of calls was 28 percent longer in 2020. Bumble also saw more than 540 million messages sent in India from January to November last year.
Another very interesting change in the dating demographics was the emergence of “new dawn” daters. These are people who broke up during the lockdown period and were trying to find love again. Bumble witnessed a significant rise in the number of new daters. “Our recent internal survey found that one in two people on Bumble in India there are likely to be new daters. While the biggest cause of the breakup was the inability to see a partner (46 percent), one in three people also said the pandemic has exasperated existing problems, ”offers Samarpita.
The pandemic stress also affected married couples. Extramarital dating app Gleeden saw an increase in new users. Sybil Shiddell, the country manager for that Gleeden Says: “During the pandemic, when people were forced to stay at home and they were within four walls with their partners, online dating became a beacon for those looking for a break. Our subscription rate skyrocketed. In September, October and November, subscriptions from India were up +246 percent compared to June, July and August. Overall, 2020 was an incredible year ahead GleedenThe Indian community now has more than 13,000,000 subscribers and continues to grow. “
Although apps are all for new dating patterns, the question is still whether couples enjoy virtual dating or not. Urmi and Aakash from Mumbai who started dating during the shutdown Bumble, have come a long way. While Urmi admits she doesn’t like virtual dating, there was a lot more she found out about Aakash through multiple online dates. “Attachment was never a question, but the pandemic forced it. I think the lockdown has brought us close, ”says Urmi. The couple watched movies, puppy videos, played Scrabble and also enjoyed lengthy discussions – all virtually and in their respective homes! “As a special date, I even made a virtual movie ticket for the premiere of Dil Bechara and we enjoyed the premiere together, ”adds Urmi.
As things slowly return to normal in India, will dating go back to what it was before the pandemic? Many users who have met online in the past year are now eager to meet offline, especially this one Valentine’s Day“In a recent Valentine’s Day survey, we noted that 75 percent of women and 55 percent of men were excited to meet their partners offline. This shows that people want to go out. However, as people are still concerned, we think users will take full advantage of in-app chat and video calls until it becomes more secure, ”says Ravi.
But the market leader, Tinder, feels that things have changed forever. “For generation Z, online dating is dating. The pandemic continues to resolve the already blurring line between our digital and physical lives, ”said Rashi Wadhera, communications director. Tinder India. “Social detachment helps everyone to experience what we already knew Tinder – that a connection that is established entirely via digital means is just as useful as a connection that is made personally. The physical world will not be replaced by digital experiences, but our digital life will continue to transcend transactional interactions and remain both emotional and meaningful, ”she summarizes.