Long back when Leo Tolstoy said, “In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you”, he probably foresaw the time when everything else would freeze abruptly and humans won’t know how to pass their time. The Covid-19 pandemic led to horrific circumstances worldwide. This is when you and I, reluctantly, had enough time to look beyond the bare necessities of life. It brought a huge shift in our lifestyle and approach.
Change is the only constant while its adaptability is the key to survival. The Covid-19 lockdown caused rampant shutdown of businesses and owners helplessly chose to prioritise survival over the rest. But it also opened massive doorways for online businesses. The virtual dating culture owes its rising demand to the pandemic in ways more than one. Loneliness tapped its foot inside our lives and it was almost inevitable to get rid of it. This is when dating applications experienced an eureka moment. The matters of heart have also adapted to technology during the pandemic.
“We saw huge signups during the lockdown. In fact we have added 18,000 new users per day during peak lockdown, an 80% increase from our regular traffic. With the effect of isolation during lockdown, 70% of new users were coming from smaller cities, while only 30% from metro cities,” says Ravi Mittal, founder of Quack Quack, an Indian dating app which crossed 11 million users in December 2020.
We spotted an interesting trend here — Dating apps have, for the longest time, been considered an elite and metropolitan concept. But Mittal argues the trend is far more popular in smaller cities and towns than ever before. “The concept of using dating apps is trickling down from metropolitans to smaller towns and cities due to a cultural change which is now being adopted by the latter and yes, thanks to smartphones and economic viability of internet on phones. The gradual rise in users from non-metros is surprising. Post lockdown, we are seeing people migrate to their home towns and taking this culture back. In fact, 70% of the new users come from non-metros now making it a bigger audience than ever before,” says Mittal.
Women have also been considered to be apprehensive towards dating apps due to reasons like privacy, cyber bulling and frauds. It also has a lot to do with the stigma attached to dating apps. But millennials and gen Z is breaking the glass ceiling slowly and steadily.
“Stigma attached to not just dating applications but dating in general is burdensome. But look at where we stand today? So many young men and women are making their own choices. They look out for love on their terms and conditions. I joined a dating website out of curiosity and met my soulmate. Its been two years since we got married and I don’t shy away from telling people how we met,” says Sreemoi Chowdhury, a working professional from New Delhi.
Mittal shared some path breaking figures on female participation on his dating application which indicates that women have slowly found a comfort zone while venturing to find love online.
“We saw more female users interested in trying out dating apps – a 12% increase in new female users. In fact, women opened the app twice as much as men in a day. We saw a 40% increase in daily chats. User chats have gone up from 350k chats/day to 500k chats/day,” reveals the Quack Quack founder.
In view of the rising business of dating apps, it’s important to keep safety and privacy of users intact. Any breach on this front could cause a blow to its running momentum.
“Yes, there is still stigma related to dating apps. People are worried about quality of profiles, fakes, spammers, etc. However, there is always a concern with a new concept be it cab booking via apps, ordering food online. While we educate our users and keep the platform moderated and screen all profiles, people are slowly but surely understanding the need for dating apps in today’s society. In fact, majority of the people would think of dating apps for casual relationships earlier. However, that perception and mood has shifted to more meaningful relationships,” Mittal asserts.
Dating applications provide a platform to look out for love, companionship or even friendship for that matter. From meeting at college campuses, work place, family functions or a dating app — its a matter of chance — you can come across the love of your life anywhere. Keep exploring technology and its boons.
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