Conscious Coupling: The Pandemic Created a Whole New Dating Persona — and We Have the Data to Prove It!

By T-Mobile StoriesFebruary 11, 2022

According to new research, our mobile devices are now the quiver from which Cupid chooses his arrow most, and T-Mobile data shows it’s the wireless provider of choice for making a love connection. Here we look at how finding love in the digital age has changed since the beginning of the pandemic, and how dating apps, mobile communications platforms and more have ushered in the era of intentional dating.

Love finds a way, and in the last two years that way has come in mobile form. Specifically, dating apps. Lots and lots of dating apps.

All of us were enlisted in this mobile revolution out of necessity. But lately we've noticed an interesting shift from the carefree swipe-right mentality of connecting with someone in pre-pandemic times toward one of intentionality. We call it “conscious coupling” (yes, in opposition to that highly publicized conscious uncoupling!).

Conscious Coupling

There’s a dizzying amount of downloads for digital dating: Hinge, Plenty of Fish, Tinder, OKCupid (all of which are owned by Match), Grindr, #open, Bumble, Three Day Rule, etc. And T-Mobile customers have wasted no time in adopting them all – and more!

T-Mobile’s Consumer Insights Group sourced syndicated data that surveyed customers across multiple wireless providers with a simple question: “Are you currently a member of at least one online dating service that you actively use in order to find a partner?” The replies found that T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers are statistically more likely to have a membership on a dating site than customers on AT&T and Verizon. Magenta love is real!

The trend is supported by T-Mobile’s own network data of dating app users and usage. The number of users went up, way up, for almost every one of the major apps surveyed between 2020 and 2021, with an average 51% increase in users on the network. Tinder alone saw a 102% increase in users! Data usage for these apps also increased 49% increase during that same period.

Between January 2020 and January 2022, dating app usage jumped from 11.7 million users to 16.8 million (43%). And while that usage jumped, there was another trend that, like the perfect meet-cute, went hand in hand with it.

The Look of Love

The trend of more dating app users and added time people spend on dating apps is thanks in part to some savvy adjustments these apps made in response to customer behaviors. A new pandemic brought with it new priorities. As apprehensions toward casual dating were being coined “hesidating” and FODA (Fear Of Dating Again), these digital platforms touted something that seems the antithesis to accessing an endless supply of contenders: the chance to really get to know someone on the other side of the screen. And as these apps began to offer new ways to connect through video chats or voice chats, users took advantage. From March to May 2020, OkCupid saw a 700% increase in virtual dates while Bumble’s video calls increased by 70%.

Welcome to the era of intentional dating, aka conscious coupling. COVID has driven singles to put a little more rigor behind the art of courtship. The time spent getting to know prospective mates virtually is being viewed as a necessary step before taking the plunge IRL.

Taking a closer look at T-Mobile customers, it’s clear that those using dating apps are primed for some screen time. According to T-Mobile’s Marketing Solutions team, over 80% of female Tinder users ages 18-24 have Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Facebook. It’s not so far-fetched to assume that dating app users tend to move their conversations to various popular chat platforms that often offer video.

T-Mobile Dating App And Video Chat Platform Users

According to T-Mobile’s Marketing Solutions team, 83% of Bumble users have Facebook Messenger installed, 74% have Snapchat, 46% have WhatsApp and 44% have Google Duo.

According to T-Mobile’s Marketing Solutions team, 83% have Facebook Messenger installed, 59% have Snapchat, 45% have WhatsApp and 43% have Google Duo.

According to T-Mobile’s Marketing Solutions team, 80% have Facebook Messenger installed, 63% have Snapchat, 47% have WhatsApp and 40% have Google Duo.

According to Match’s 2021 Singles in America study, which surveyed 5,000 single people in the U.S., 53% of app daters are now “prioritizing their search for a relationship more than before the pandemic.” So, while swiping may still be synonymous to some with a virtual form of speed dating, the desire to put a little more substance behind the swipe is becoming apparent.

This shift in mobile-dating is not that different from upward trends in texting or calling to express love and gratitude during the holidays. Turns out that putting intention behind your device has the same meaningful effect as one expects it would in person.

So, here’s to another year of not just swiping right, but also getting it right.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Now that you know all about the ways to use your device more intentionally for dating, why not learn just how impactful a phone conversation or text chat can be? And while you’re at it, may as well find out the status of your relationship with your phone this Valentine’s Day!