In the minds of many born of a long-standing pandemic isolation, amorous entanglement is not a top priority. Instead, they crave the friendships and social groups that have been hungry for the past year.
This is a verdict for dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. These apps are launching or getting new services with a full focus on making and retaining friends.
Whitney Wolfe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bumble, said:
“People are seeking friendship in ways they could only do offline before the pandemic.”
Her company is investing in the Bumble BFF (Eternal Best Friend) feature. It accounted for about 9% of Bumble’s total monthly active users in September 2020, stating that “there is room for growth as we focus more on this area.”
Meanwhile, its archival Match Group, the owner of a range of apps such as Tinder and Hinge, also pushes beyond love and desire. This year, we paid $ 1.7 billion to Korean social media company Hyperconnect. With this app, people all over the world can chat using real-time translations.
Hyperconnect’s revenue surged 50% last year, but Meetup, which helps meet like-minded people at local and online events, has seen a 22% increase in new members since January.
The most searched word on Meetup this year was “friends”.
“Friends over a year”
According to Evercore analyst Shweta Kharjuria, these friendship services are becoming more involved with users as COVID-19 restrictions are gradually lifted around the world, allowing people to meet in person.
“This opens the market for singles and married people from the market for singles only,” she said.
The importance of physical contact was repeated by Amos, a 22-year-old French au pair using Bumble BFF in London.
“It’s hard to gain momentum online, and if all IRLs (in real life) are closed,” he said. “You won’t actually be connected until you meet in person.”
Rosie, a 24-year-old dental nurse in Bristol, southwest England, struggled to reach an older colleague during the blockade and started using Bumble BFF three weeks ago to meet new people. ..
“I’m very sociable and I like meeting new people, but I couldn’t find an opportunity. This app has become quite lively since Vodafone sent me a text message. It’s great. It looks like a lot of girls are in it. It’s my position. ”
People are seeking friendship in ways that could only be done offline before the pandemic.
Nupur, a 25-year-old teacher from Pune, western India, who uses both Tinder and Bumble, is very much working on an app that promotes himself as a way to find friends, not just connections and love. He said it could work. Good “.
“I met a few people online. We met and made friends for over a year.”
In fact, according to market research firm Apptopia, friend-making networks such as MeetMe and Yubo outperform popular dating apps in terms of daily engagement in the past few months.
Online dating expert Jess Carbino, a former sociologist at Tinder and Bumble, told Reuters that social isolation was “amazing” because of the pandemic, especially for singles.
“(This) encouraged people to use the tools available, technology, to find relationships and connections.”
Involvement in dating and friendship apps https://graphics.reuters.com/SOCIALMEDIA-DATING/nmovaerbkva/chart.png
“Trends stay here”
According to brokerage Canaccord Genuity, LGBTQ + dating apps have done a lot to drive the social side of dating. For example, Blued in China offers surrogacy services and Taimi offers livestreaming.
Meanwhile, the gay dating app Hornet aims to be a social network that focuses on the personal interests of the user, as well as a hookup service that focuses on physical appearance and proximity.
Hornet founder and CEO Christof Wittig said people are unlikely to return to the “old way” of connecting with the community only offline, such as nightlife, activists and LGBTQ sporting events.
According to Whitting, the number of users tapping news feeds, comments and videos has increased by 37% over the year to May.
He said the number of people looking for friendship and community online increased during the blockage when people turned to digital platforms for attribution when bars, gyms and pride events were closed. Told.
“These trends will continue,” he added. “Like video conferencing or working from home.”
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Friendship inherits the physical intimacy of dating apps in the post-pandemic world
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