Designing Courting Apps within the Age of Coronavirus

The pandemic may have saved people from immersing themselves in real data, but dating apps are using the embargo period as an opportunity to nurture our virtual love life. CR explores the unstoppable rise of digital dating

The minefield of modern dating has changed dramatically in recent years. As recently as a decade ago, it was a secret shame to admit that you met your partner on a dating website. However, if you're single and aren't using at least one of the numerous apps on offer, you're probably the odd one out.

While the rise of the likes of Tinder, Bumble and Grindr suggests that the dating scene is already moving in a digital direction, the coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated that trend. Think back to April 5: the day UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized for coronavirus testing (before going to intensive care later) and the US had 331,000 confirmed cases and nearly 9,500 deaths. It was also the most talkative day on Tinder in the US to date. Members sent an average of 56% more messages than when the lockdown began in early March.

Above: From Bumble's latest campaign Time to Connect; the video chat function of the app

On a global level, Tinder has registered more members who accessed a new person directly, had more conversations overall, and those conversations have been longer since the pandemic began. Bumble has seen a similar surge in demand since the lockdown began. In the UK alone, video calls made through the app have increased by 42%, the average call duration has increased to 30 minutes, and every fourth chat has resulted in ongoing conversations between users.