PANDEMIC DATING: Outbreak has dating app makers like Austin’s Bumble adjusting their tools to fit the new normal – Austin American-Statesman

PANDEMIC DATING: Outbreak has dating app makers like Austin’s Bumble adjusting their tools to fit the new normal – Austin American-Statesman

If you’ve been on a date the past few months, you likely set a time, threw together your best outfit — and then sat back down on the sofa to log onto your video chat platform of choice.

The stay-at-home orders and social distancing policies created by the coronavirus outbreak haven’t stopped singles from using dating apps and online platforms to look for potential matches.

The use of virtual dating tools such as video calls has skyrocketed as dating app users continue to look for ways to connect, date and stave off boredom. And dating app companies say they are retooling and adding features and events to encourage users to not just meet, but to actively conduct dates both online and via their apps.

Dating app companies Austin-based Bumble and Dallas-based Match Group — which owns a variety of platforms including Tinder, Hinge. Match and Plenty of Fish — reported increased use of apps in March as the outbreak spread into the United States.

Online dating had been growing in popularity even before the pandemic. In fact, online dating has become the most popular way for heterosexual couples to meet in the United States, according to a study published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

In late March, Bumble saw a 26% increase in messages sent and a 56% increase in video calls increase in use for its video call tool. The company has been encouraging its clients to use those
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