Online dating industry sees dramatic increase in engagement since start of pandemic

National

(NBC) – Are you single? If so, other hopeful matches are looking for love online as we approach “Dating Sunday” on Jan. 3, which is considered the busiest day of the year for dating apps.

“There’s a mix of New Year’s resolutions, there’s maybe some post-holiday breakups, Valentine’s Days right around the corner,” said Priti Joshi with Bumble.

An annual boost to a record-setting year for the online dating industry, which has seen dramatic growth since the start of the pandemic.

The Match app saw 40 percent increase in engagement, according to Match Group, which owns a family of dating apps including Hinge and Tinder.

“This year, we expect ‘Dating Sunday’ to be the biggest day that dating apps have ever seen,” said Melissa Hodley with OkCupid.

Beyond more users and messages, the latest data also points to a shift in how users are connecting.

“Our users are really adopting something called slow dating. I’m calling it the new speed in town,” Joshi said.

According to the popular dating app Bumble, video calls on its platform have increased by 70 percent since March. Getting creative with virtual dates to build trust online before meeting “IRL.”

In this busy season between the holidays and Valentine’s Day, Bumble’s offering tips on its new dating guide, such as how to navigate the “COVID conversation.”

“The key thing to keep in mind, it has to be brought on early on in getting to know them,” said Dr. Ravina Kullar, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist.

Despite the challenges of pairing up in a pandemic, Bumble’s data shows daters are optimistic.

“Nearly half of them believe that 2021 is the year to find love,” Joshi said.

Experts from Match and Bumble say the best time to log on is Sunday between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. because that’s when the most people will be online and more likely to respond.

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