2020 has upended norms for us all – from our living situations (hello Mum and Dad) to our cooking habits (another banana bread?). Throughout this year, single Irish people have been at the forefront of a new dating landscape learning to navigate everything from virtual dates and mask dating etiquette, to new approaches to relationships and mental wellness. Popular dating app, Bumble, has taken a look back at the year in dating, looking at how its community connected and what it means for the future of romance in 2021.
LOVE IN LOCKDOWN
Despite the difficulties of lockdown, and social distancing, Irish singletons are not giving up on love. Recent research from Bumble shows that people are not wasting time, with nearly 1 billion matches and nearly 7 billion messages sent on Bumble in 2020. In fact, this time of year is actually the busiest time for new romance. Despite ongoing restrictions, people haven’t given up on dating with 87% of people on Bumble saying they’re going to use dating apps the same or more between now and in the run up to Valentine’s Day.
THE RISE OF VIRTUAL DATING
Bumble was one of the only apps to already have video and voice calls already in their app pre-pandemic. During the first lockdown in March, Bumble saw a 38% increase in video calls 2 with people meeting virtually when they cannot meet in real life. But it’s not just about videos, people are now spending more time writing to each other, especially in lockdown Bumble saw a 16% increase in messages sent. Importantly, one in four chat conversations turn into something meaningful with a large number of messages exchanged. Longer, more romantic exchanges have opened up a return to old school courtship. Bumble found that more than one in four chats turned into something more meaningful, as people adjusted early on to social distancing and settled into the new normal. People, particularly women, are really slowing down the ‘get to know you phase’ with more than 1 in 3 (39%) getting to know someone online for longer and in more depth.
AN EMOJI SAYS A THOUSAND WORDS
When in doubt, say it with emojis. Globally, the most popular emoji this year in Bumble profiles was the shrugging emoji (🤷) which really sums up 2020. This emoji ranked number one for men and number two for women – the classic red heart took the top spot. In Ireland, the most popular emoji this year was tears of joy (😂) which says a lot about us as a nation.
WHEN THE STARS ALIGN
Over the last six months, Bumble has found that more than 1 million people have added the Zodiac badge to their profile across Ireland and the UK. In fact in Ireland, people who added their star sign to their profile last month saw a 66% increase in average number of matches than those who did not. This year, Leos were the most lucky in love in Ireland.
THE COVID CONVERSATION
As health and safety became a trending topic of conversation, Bumble launched an updated feature to help people identify how they would like to date: virtual only, socially-distanced, or socially-distanced with masks. More than 1 million people have used this feature globally to communicate how they want to date. Before meeting, 2 in 3 (62%) people had a conversation with their dates about the venue, mask wearing and physical contact. These conversations were key, with 76% of people saying that this helped get to know their date better and feel safer.
NEW DAWN DATERS
The past year has also seen the rise of ‘New Dawn Daters’ – people who are newly single after experiencing a break-up during the COVID-19 pandemic. 1 in 5 (23%) people on Bumble are “New Dawn daters”. While the biggest driver of break ups was the inability to see a partner (46%), 1 in 3 people (33%) also said that the pandemic exacerbated existing issues.
Naomi Walkand, Head of UK and Ireland at Bumble said, “2020 turned dating upside down and we’ve admired the many ways that people have been creatively using Bumble to connect. Despite the challenges, people in Ireland were quick to adapt to video calls and are using features like our COVID dating badges to make clear how they want to date and meet from the start – whether it’s virtually or in real life.
“In 2021, we expect people will continue to use the latest Netflix binge or lockdown recipe to spark conversation. For many, the new year will be more intentional with 1 in 4 people on Bumble saying they have clearer goals of what they want from their dating life.”
“As we wrap up the year, this is a reminder that we’ve all done our best learning to navigate a new world of dating. With the busiest season for online dating ahead, it’s not too late to make the first move for 2021 romance.”
WHAT DOES 2021 HOLD?
It’s not all bad news. 2020 has also brought some positive changes in the way that Irish men and women approach dating.
This is especially true when it comes to redefining what’s important to us in a relationship. For many users, spending lockdown alone has highlighted the need for romantic connection, and people are eager to find a partner. In Ireland, 53% of millennials are looking for a relationship, while only 8% are looking for something casual.
If nothing else, Irish daters know what they want in 2021.