Lockdown and deLockdown: how the coronavirus changes dating for good

Right now we’re hearing a lot of words like “lockdown”, “social distancing”, “pandemic” and ‘isolation”. All this new vocabulary might make you think it’s a bad time to find love. But despite the stresses of the coronavirus crisis, 15 million British singles are still thinking about matters of the heart. In fact, 33% think they could fall in love with someone they haven’t met in real life.

At Match we’ve spent the last 25 years interviewing singles so we can help them find love, and recently we’ve been finding out the impact lockdown has had on their quest to start a real relationship – and how they think things will change once the crisis is over.

Our survey* of Match singles showed there is a definite shift in attitudes.

1. THE IMPACT OF LOCKDOWN ON SINGLES: A CHANCE TO TAKE A BREAK AND TAKE STOCK

Even though lockdown has disrupted everyone’s lives, the state of mind of singles remains good: 67% claim to be in a positive state of mind!

When we asked singles what they missed most during the lockdown, they mainly answered friends and family … followed by encounters and physical contact.

Contrary to popular belief, only 23% admitted to missing sex and only 10% have been sexting during Lockdown (3% of those for the first time in their lives).

As you might expect singles said they were spending more time than usual on their hobbies (TV, cooking, DIY, etc.), but 42% were spending much more time than usual thinking about their lives and priorities. It seems that the Lockdown has given singles time to think about their romantic expectations.

2. IMPACT OF LOCKDOWN ON ONLINE DATING: A FOCUS ON QUALITY

Singles have been always active and committed. Though there was a drop in activity on Match following the initial announcement of the lockdown, (13% fewer messages were sent on Sunday 22nd March compared with the previous Sunday**), activity soon increased, and by 29th March was higher than before the lockdown began. Activity even approached the record set on “Love Sunday’ (the first Sunday of the new year, which is traditionally the busiest day on dating sites …and apps).”

Sunday 19th April was the most active day of Lockdown in terms of registrations. Believe it or not, we recorded 14%** more registrations that day than on Valentines Day, which is usually one of our busiest days!

60% of singles surveyed said they were using Match as much or even more as they had before Lockdown.

These committed singles have used the extra time they have during lockdown to plan their dating strategy more carefully than they had before. 24% said they have taken the opportunity to update their profile (photos and descriptions).

These people report that they are finding their dating habits are changing to increase the quality of their interactions with other singles! In fact, 21% said they will continue having deeper conversations even after Lockdown. Note that women seem even more sensitive to this change: 23% said they valued taking more time to get to know someone.

What did they talk about? While of course Lockdown and its impact on everyday life were an obvious topic (even to the point where it was annoying for some), singles talked more about their future plans and the impact of lockdown on their lives.

Of course lockdown has meant singles have had to wait for their first ‘real life’ date, and they have appreciated taking the time to get to know each other better before they first meet face to face.

While they are waiting, they are taking the time to enjoy virtual dates: many have opted for audio and video calls, during which they have shared more than they thought.

3. LOCKDOWN AND AFTERMATH: TIME FOR REAL ENCOUNTERS!

What does the post-lockdown period have in store for us?

Nearly one in two* singles don’t seem to have any worries about the impact of lockdown on their encounters. While they know that dating in real life might have to be done differently than before (wearing a mask, or away from bars and restaurants, for example) they seem ready to adapt.

The Lockdown has restored the importance of the first date. 54% of singles give it more value than before!

14% of singles already know with whom they will spend their first date post Lockdown!

Towards new expectations?

Perhaps because 59% of singles spent Lockdown alone, they have had time to ask themselves the right questions about what they expect from a new date. 50% of single women say they expect even more sincerity and authenticity in relationships than they did before Lockdown.

Clearly, committed singles are more interested than ever in a serious relationship, 53% of them say they want to start a serious relationship. For 19% of them, Lockdown revealed or intensified this desire.

78% of singles agree with the following statement: “This lockdown experience made me realise that life’s too short, and there’s no time to lose!”

What to remember:

While most predicted that Lockdown would leave singles extremely frustrated as they lost their social and sex live, it’s clear that the truth is quite different.

Above all, lockdown gave singles time. Time for introspection so they could identify their desires. Time to reveal their true selves to others. Time to figure out what they really want from each other. And while for the past two years we have seen singles grow increasingly tired of using dating apps, there is clearly something positive to be learned from this extra time that has been gifted to singles.

Singles who were already committed to living a real story continued their journey, enjoying the break offered to them from the first Sunday of Lockdown. As for the others, this experience has enabled them to become aware of their need for commitment (19% discovered during the Lockdown that they now want a serious relationship).

So what predictions can we make now the lockdown is easing?

  • Most singles know exactly what they’re looking for: 53% want a serious relationship.
  • Singles are increasingly seeking authenticity and give more value to discovering more about the other person than before: 50% of single women say so.
  • People will take longer to meet in real life: only 30% of singles say they have found it frustrating not to be able to meet straight away in real life!
  • Many beautiful stories: as evidenced by the stories that our singles have told us since March.

 

* Source : Based on an internal study conducted from 5 May 2020 to 11 May 2020, a sample of 2,538 Match users aged over 18 in UK.

**Source: Match Internal Data