Survey Reveals Modern Dating Is Not So Different After All

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Once upon a time, singles met by grinding on dive bar dance floors, playing footsie under the conference table, or shyly making eye contact at the church picnic.

Then online dating hit the scene. Dating apps and websites completely changed the dynamics of finding love, turning footsie and furtive glances into a series of swipes and winking emojis.

Or did it?

According to a recent survey from ReportLinker, modern dating looks decidedly less modern than pop culture would have you believe. Only 19% of adult singles in the US say they are registered on a dating service -- a surprisingly small percentage considering the size of the buzz around online dating. That leaves a whopping 81% who prefer doing things the old fashioned way.

The reason for that diminutive figure may also come as a surprise. Though singles are bombarded with the message that the stigma of online dating is over, this survey tells a different story. More than half (54%) of respondents say they view dating services negatively, with women feeling particularly skeptical (64%) about signing up.

When asked about the drawbacks of online dating, the daters surveyed offered many of the same criticisms that have been levied for years. Thirty percent said online dating is not serious, 21% said it encourages more lies, 15% claimed it’s too time-consuming, and 12% simply said it’s unreal. Sixteen percent registered a more timely complaint: concerns over their personal information falling into the wrong hands.

Most daters still turn to one or more of the classic methods to catch the eye of cupid. Fifty-eight percent of ReportLinker’s respondents said they meet dates through friends, making it the most popular method of matching even in 2018. Bars, coffee shops and other public areas were next, with 37% of mentions, followed by the workplace and events or hobbies (which each clocked in at 27% of mentions).

Contrary to popular belief that online dating is all about hookups, only 34% of users said they surf dating sites and apps for casual flings. More users (41%) are looking for friendship, and most users really are searching for lasting love (60%).

Those who do use online dating (which is a $2.4 billion Industry) say they belong to 2.4 services on average. The most popular amongst US singles are Tinder (42%), Match (32%), Plenty of Fish (26%) and OkCupid (25%). Tinder is particularly popular with Millennials, 70% of whom say they use it. It was also found 26% of online dating users pay for the service which means 73% of people do not (which increases to 83% for Tinder users and 85% for Millennials).

And here’s the good news: modern relationships have staying power. Almost half of respondents told ReportLinker they have been with their partner for more than seven years. For married respondents, the number jumps to 73%. Lasting love is always in fashion.

Check out more stats from the surveys which 1052 online respondents took back in late January of 2017 here.