COVID-19 study series: use of dating apps

Posted on June 25, 2020
2 min read


Welcome to UserTesting HITs, an ongoing series in which we share human insight trends (HITs) that we uncover from studies conducted by the UserTesting team. We hope you find these insights interesting and that they inspire you to conduct similar studies of your own!

What we did

We asked people in the US and UK who use dating apps about the use of apps during the COVID-19 pandemic and how stay-at-home orders have impacted dating.

What we learned

Recommendations for dating app companies

  • Enable virtual dating within the app: Consumers wished apps already included the ability to virtually connect with prospective dates, rather than having to arrange something outside of the app.
  • Stronger verification process: Many daters were concerned about being 'catfished' or encountering fake accounts and wanted apps to take more steps to verify each person's identity prior to allowing them to use the service.
  • Offer tips and suggestions for video dates: Most daters felt that meeting up virtually would be less awkward if they had some tips on how to interact on a video date, or how to make it feel more like a real date.

Hear people talk about dating during the pandemic

What daters like about using dating apps

  • No-pressure dates
  • Avoid catfishing situations
  • Don't feel obligated to go out
  • Safer than meeting someone on a blind date
  • Getting to know someone better before meeting

I like the absence of the first date pressure. With virtual dates you are not as conscious as you would be in person.

It [dating during COVID-19] has changed for sure. Now I know that you don't really have to see people to get to know them. There are loads of technologies out there that let you get to know someone, virtually.

What daters dislike about using dating apps 

  • Lack of intimacy
  • Not all people using apps put in the same effort
  • Technology can make spontaneous conversations challenging
  • Frustrating not to be able to meet up if there's a connection
  • Difficult to meet up in person due to social distancing and with many venues closed

My one virtual date was a mega fail. I could barely hear her, my wifi was spotty and so was hers. We both ended up feeling frustrated. It felt like a huge waste of time. I just feel like we just shouldn't be doing that [virtual dates], it's just not helpful right now. I can wait to find my soulmate.

How COVID-19 is changing how people use dating apps

  • People are more used to and accepting of talking more before meeting in person
  • Daters are more cautious about who they'll meet up with because of the virus
  • Some daters reported that get easily bored with virtual communication
  • Lack of in-person interaction may discourage some from continuing to date during COVID-19

Share your insights with us! 

Have you conducted a similar study? Did these findings inspire you to run some experiments of your own? Insights are always best when shared, so share your biggest "a-ha" moments with us on Twitter with #RealHumanInsight.

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