Jan. 3 Was Expected to Be the Busiest Dating Day of the Year

The pandemic has been good for the dating app business.
The pandemic has been good for the dating app business. Photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash
Last year objectively sucked, and luckily, it's over. Singles looking to move on and make 2021 their year, however, had their chance  on Jan. 3, the busiest day of the dating calendar.

According to a news release in late December, Dallas-based dating app company Match expected to witness an increase of around 65% in new singles joining that day,  And the peak time? 9:01 p.m.

Coined “Dating Sunday" by Match, the unofficial holiday promised to up lovers’ chances of finding their soulmate because of a surge in new users, according to the release. It was named the busiest online dating day of the year after Match saw a repeat trend of heightened activity.

“Don’t waste your 2021 on 2020 grade relationships,” Rachel DeAlto, Match’s chief dating expert, said in an emailed statement. “Let’s start focusing on not just passing time, which was understandable in 2020, but finding something real in 2021.”

The pandemic has changed much about the way people interact, and it’s also altered hookup culture and the way people consciously uncouple. Yet it hasn’t snuffed out humans’ basic need for love.

COVID has been bad for many businesses, but the dating app world is booming. Match Group — which owns Match, Tinder, Hinge, Plenty of Fish and OKCupid — reported a 12% increase in average subscribers over the third quarter. The company also saw its total revenue grow by 18% to $640 million.

Even with social distancing mandates, Dallas singles are mingling. More than three-fourths said video dates served as a good screening for whether they’d want to meet a suitor in person, according to Match's Singles in America survey.

“It’s OK to actually want a relationship, and not settle for less.” – Dating expert Rachel DeAlto

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These days, Dallas-based singles are also looking for more “meaningful connections” and transparency, instead of just focusing on physical attractiveness. It makes sense, too, since the idea of catching COVID may give people pause when it comes to casual hookups.

Around 71% of Dallas singles claim they’re more honest when interacting and 69% said they’re more willing to ask their date what type of relationship they’re after. DeAlto advises them to embrace their own vulnerability.

“Don’t be afraid to show who you are, because the healthiest relationships are built on honesty and trust. Don’t be afraid to go first,” she said. “We feed off of one another’s emotions; if you’re open to being open, lead the conversation and let them respond in kind.”

While COVID has been profitable for dating apps, coronavirus mandates can also throw a wrench in certain activities. Business Insider reported that some dating app users have encouraged matches to ignore social distancing measures.

To meet the moment, Match has rolled out new features such as video dating, known as “Vibe Check.” The Dallas Morning News reports that video calling has seen a “healthy adoption” across Match Group platforms, especially at Plenty of Fish.

Masks have also been a new facet of singles’ dating lives, according to Match’s date preferences data. Around 92% of people are open to wearing face coverings on a date, and members are reporting that parks are now their favorite dating spot.

Match’s experts recommend social distancing together or waiting to meet in person until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention give a green light. That being the case, many daters are opting to play it safe: Around 7 in 10 singles haven’t had sex during the pandemic, and of those that did, a quarter reported doing it with their roommate, according to the study.

Regardless of whether one chooses to become intimate, DeAlto believes it’s important to set boundaries and stick to them in the new year.

“In 2021, don’t settle for nearby hookups,” she said. “It’s OK to actually want a relationship, and not settle for less.”
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter