The concept of online dating, before the Covid-19 pandemic, was mostly confined to metropolitan cities. However, the course of online dating has changed now. Young Indians from small towns are now relying on dating apps to find love and companionships as more and more people have started to choose video calls over in-person dating, a report by Livemint stated on Wednesday.
According to company executives, users on dating apps, such as Tinder, Bumble, and TrulyMadly, from outside of metro cities now account for 70 per cent, reported Livemint.
Catching up with major metro cities of India, Ahmedabad, Surat, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, and Patna are witnessing a significant surge in users of dating apps. With the surge, more women are now becoming vocal on dating platforms, reported Livemint.
About 72 per cent of users believe finding love online without meeting them in person is possible, the executives at dating apps told Livemint.
“The distinction between our online and offline world is blurring. As a result, the time spent online is on the rise,” Andwemet’s founder Shalini Singh told Livemint.
Andwemet, an online dating platform for single urban Indians, has witnessed its user-base triple annually in the past two years.
Indians find more online dating platforms more trustworthy in the post-Covid era, as people are willing to pay for the convenience of online dating, Singh told Livemint.
The surge in dating app users in these cities has also been fuelled by many youths moving back to their hometowns from the metros during the pandemic, the Andwemet founder told Livemint. She added that dating apps are attracting affluent users even in small-town India.
For single people, video dates have become a first-date staple as mentions of ‘video call’ in bios of Tinder users grew 52 per cent globally, stated Tinder’s Year in Swipe 2021.
While many Indians preferred video dating on Tinder, Hyderabad was the chattiest city, followed closely by Chennai and Bengaluru, the Livemint report stated.
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Most first dates are still on video, and if things work out, users plan an offline date, Snehil Khanor, co-founder and CEO of TrulyMadly, told Livemint.
Aisle’s founder and CEO, Able Joseph, while agreeing that video calls now become a part of the screening process before an in-person date, said that causal hookups may be on a slow decline.
“Loneliness — coupled with a few years of uncertainty — led to a certain sense of collective fatigue that’s developed in the Indian dating landscape. Singles are found moving away from the endless loop of swiping across dating platforms and are now looking for more substance in a relationship,” Joseph further told Livemint.
Bumble India’s communications director, Samarpita Samaddar told Livemint that Covid has made ‘more than half of us (62 per cent)’ realise that it’s okay to be alone for a while.
“People are consciously deciding to be single, with the majority of single people (54 per cent) being more mindful and intentional in how and when they date,” she told the newspaper.
After the second wave of Covid in India, emotional connection (60 per cent) and kindness (55 per cent) top the charts as being the most important to single Indians in dating, Samaddar said, quoting a nationwide survey conducted in 2021.
“Social good in terms of volunteering, donating to social causes (48 per cent) especially rank high in preferences for millennials in India,” she further told Livemint.