The Death of the Blind Date?

match.com’s annual LoveGeist report 2012-13 shows how technology has evolved one of courtship’s oldest rituals, as the search for the perfect partner intensifies

One of the oldest dating traditions, the ‘blind date’, has been firmly replaced by more modern methods of finding a partner, according to independent research released today by match.com. The figures reveal that just 3% of Brits have been on a blind date in the last 5 years, showing the nation has come a long way since the heyday of Cilla Black and ‘Our Graham’.

match.com’s annual LoveGeist Report 2012-13, which launches today, has found that traditional blind dates are well and truly out of fashion, with 62% of singles * saying that they are likely to research someone online before going on a date with them. This rises to 71% amongst tech-savvy 18-24 year olds, who lead the way when it comes to getting to know a potential partner before they meet. And when it comes to those date-worthy deal breakers, Britain’s singletons appear to be looking for the bigger picture when searching online, prioritising humour, compatibility, values and intelligence over attractiveness or a bulging bank balance.

Technology is clearly the biggest driver behind this change, with time-poor singles using the information available at their fingertips to make more informed choices about who they date before they meet them. Just 3% of 18-24 year olds in Britain have ever been on a blind date, whilst 36% have used online dating to find a partner. By contrast, 29% of those aged over 55 said they had blind dated in the past, although even this older age group have now embraced more modern forms of dating.

The LoveGeist research also shows the first date has now moved on from ice-breakers and chats about the weather, with singles nowadays keen to gain an insight into their date before they meet up. With busy and cash-strapped singles across the country looking the right partner, daters are now less willing to take a chance on someone without doing some research to help that all important first date go as well as possible. Given that the average singleton spends £32.58 just on preparing for a first date, this comes as little surprise.

For those who don’t have an online dating profile to refer to, Facebook is the most popular method of researching a prospective date, with 71% of singles* admitting to using it for their pre-date prep. 30% also used web search engines such as Google to discover information and hobbies, while 20% explored their Twitter profile.

Kate Taylor, relationship expert at match.com, the site responsible for more relationships and more marriages than any other in the UK** commented: “Technology has changed the way we date in many important ways. With so much information about potential partners right at our finger tips, whether it’s on our online dating profiles or another social network, it’s understandable that we don’t want to leave who we date up to chance. As we wave goodbye to the blind date, it’s clear that people are investing their time more carefully into picking a partner, and that researching a date online before you meet up so you feel comfortable that the conversation won’t dry up is a refreshing addition to modern dating.”

Since it was launched in 2009, match’s definitive annual LoveGeist study has tracked the nation’s changing attitudes towards dating and relationships, taking into account the views and attitudes of over 200,000 people. LoveGeist is published by match.com, the UK’s best-known dating site.