Are millennials and dating apps hitting it off?

In 2002 Wired Magazine predicted that “Twenty years from now, the idea that someone looking for love won’t look for it online will be silly, akin to skipping the card catalog to instead wander the stacks because ‘the right books are found only by accident'”. We have found that to be true in 2017 for 18-23 year-olds, fifteen years on from the prediction.

Our Ideas and Imagination Team discussed all things Valentine in our last ideas session; young people’s approach to dating, their use of dating apps and what Valentine’s day means for them.

A recurring theme was that looking for love online would be the natural place for our students to turn when the time was right (which, by the way, isn’t at uni – ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’). They said that after they’ve graduated, they can’t really imagine where they might meet their significant other aside from the world wide web. They appreciate the safety net of finding out about a person before meeting them and filtering matches from a bigger pool of potential partners. They mentioned that their social circles were fairly small at university and their wider connections were only superficial, a situation that they only expected to deteriorate after graduation.

Whilst they are common users of apps like Tinder and Bumble, they see these as more of a game than for realistic partner prospecting, but when they want to get serious about dating they perceive websites to be where solid relationships are formed. With all of that said, our group of 18-23 year-olds think that online dating websites and brands are more suited for 30-40 year olds and that apps are generally more relevant to them.

Although there are loads of dating apps and websites out there it seems our students are stumped when it comes to choosing one that feels completely right for them. Could this be yet another gap in the market in the world of online dating?