Americans Still Can’t Get Enough of Online Dating

04/14/21 10:02AM EDT

Below is a complimentary Demography Unplugged research note written by Hedgeye Demography analyst Neil Howe. Click here to learn more and subscribe.

Americans Still Can’t Get Enough of Online Dating - man 1868730 1920

Activity on Tinder rose to record levels during the pandemic, with users swiping more, sending more messages, and having longer conversations. The dating app’s competitors have also seen huge growth over this period. (Recode)

NH: In the early months of the pandemic, we noted that the use of dating apps was soaring. (See “Finding Love During Covid-19.”) That trend continued throughout the rest of the year.

Overall, eight of the largest dating apps in the U.S. saw a +12.6% YoY increase in monthly active users in Q4 2020--the biggest jump in nearly two years. Downloads were up 7.4% YoY, and time spent using the apps was up +13.4%.

Americans Still Can’t Get Enough of Online Dating - Tinder

The largest dating app, Match Group (MTCH)’s Tinder, saw the biggest gains in active users: +15.3%. Rounding out the top three were Bumble (BMBL) and Match, which also saw double-digit increases.

This new report from Tinder breaks down just how much user activity increased. It’s a nonstop litany: Conversations on the app were +32% longer. In Feb 2021, users were sending +20% more messages per day than in February of last year.They also updated their profiles 3X as often as they did pre-pandemic.

The number of swipes on Tinder surpassed 3 billion in a single day for the first time in March 2020--a record that’s been broken 130 more times since then.

In short: 2020 was the busiest year in Tinder’s history.

Previously, I mentioned that one of the few obstacles that might hinder online dating is safety concerns. (See “Love at First Site.”) While users continue flocking to these apps, there are real and ongoing issues with harassment, particularly for women.

Tinder recently announced that it’s getting a background check feature, which Match Group will later roll out to its other sites. Last year, it also added a panic button that connects users with emergency services.

With the industry riding high, it’s clear that the biggest players don’t want to give young daters any reason to stop swiping.


Neil Howe is a renowned authority on generations and social change in America. An acclaimed bestselling author and speaker, he is the nation's leading thinker on today's generations—who they are, what motivates them, and how they will shape America's future.

A historian, economist, and demographer, Howe is also a recognized authority on global aging, long-term fiscal policy, and migration. He is a senior associate to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., where he helps direct the CSIS Global Aging Initiative.

Howe has written over a dozen books on generations, demographic change, and fiscal policy, many of them with William Strauss. Howe and Strauss' first book, Generations is a history of America told as a sequence of generational biographies. Vice President Al Gore called it "the most stimulating book on American history that I have ever read" and sent a copy to every member of Congress. Newt Gingrich called it "an intellectual tour de force." Of their book, The Fourth Turning, The Boston Globe wrote, "If Howe and Strauss are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets."

Howe and Strauss originally coined the term "Millennial Generation" in 1991, and wrote the pioneering book on this generation, Millennials Rising. His work has been featured frequently in the media, including USA Today, CNN, the New York Times, and CBS' 60 Minutes.

Previously, with Peter G. Peterson, Howe co-authored On Borrowed Time, a pioneering call for budgetary reform and The Graying of the Great Powers with Richard Jackson.

Howe received his B.A. at U.C. Berkeley and later earned graduate degrees in economics and history from Yale University.

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