Pandemic dating: how Hinge steals 60% of new users from Tinder.

Dating sucks.

Now, let’s toss in a global pandemic… just for fun. So, I can barely leave the house, and now you want a guy to try to find a date too?!

Welcome to 2020.

Needless to say, the dating pool has shrunk a bit—to say the least.

So, it should be no surprise that 24% of eligible bachelors—and bachelorettes—are downloading dating apps. Gone are the good ol’ days of picking up people at bars, restaurants, movies, and theme parks. 

But, how big is this new trend? We were curious too. Luckily, we’re in research. So, we observed 200 first-party people looking for love on their smartphones. 

Here are five juicy findings. Grab some popcorn.

Pandemic dating: how Hinge steals 60% of new users from Tinder.

79% switched apps for better dating selection.

In dating app brands, experience is everything, here’s why:

  • 32% want more fish in the sea.
  • 23% switch for a cleaner app experience.
  • And 19% switch for more detailed profiles.

What’s that mean?

Well, when it comes to dating apps, customer experience is king. We’ll explain. Stick around. First, let’s take a look at pricing. We wanted to know if you really can buy love.

Fact #1: Only 11% switch for better pricing.

Spoiler alert: the Beatles were right.

You “can’t buy me love”. 

While price might be a big trigger in most purchases—it’s not in this market. In fact, speaking too much on price or promotion actually dilutes your brand message. Here’s why:

  • 6% switch for a lower standard price.
  • 5% switch for a special pricing offer.

So, what’s a marketer to do?

Well, when you remove 2 P’s: price and promotion—you’re only left with product and placement. Maybe that’s why Hinge has seen so much success. They led with the last two from the get-go.

Fact #2: 60% will leave you for a better experience.

Here’s how Hinge made users fall in love—with their experience. 

Turns out 60% of new users chose Hinge because they don’t like Tinder. Wow. How’s that for stealing market share… So, why are so many unhappy Tinder users leaving for Hinge?

Here’s why. According to app users, Tinder is just not serious enough. There’s not enough profile information—and romantic hopefuls feel like there are too many invalid and fake profiles. 


And, there’s more. Remember, the data said 79% switch for better dating selection experience. That was Hinge’s cue. It tee’d up a perfect chance to win the app war in “effective dating”. They did a great job. In the summer of 2019, Hinge boldly proclaimed that they’re…

“The dating app designed to be deleted.”


Their slogan perfectly tied their interests to consumers’ hearts. That’s exactly what they were looking for. And Hinge handed it to them. On a silver platter.

Fact #3: Brand loyalty is thin—50% don’t stick around.

Building a brand—that’s designed to be deleted—is hard.

The stats prove it:

  • 50% of dating app users have been on an app for 1 year or less.
  • Only 14% have been using the same app for more than 3 years.

So, what’s a brand in this market to do?

Simple. They can help their consumers get what they want. Yes, there is more churn to worry about than the average app, but they have price on their side. Namely, they don’t have to discount as much. They just have to be able to deliver on a better customer experience.

Let’s see how they do it.

Fact #4: More dates = more sales.

Most of us need quite a few dates before we find “the one”.

But, for the most part, the dating app industry doesn’t do a good job getting you a date. Surprised? We were too. Here’s the nitty gritty:

  • 43% of app users have been on 1-3 dates.
  • 33% haven’t had a SINGLE date on their app.
More dates = more sales

Let’s do a little math. We’ll assume you need more than 3 dates to find a soulmate. Well, only 24% have crossed that threshold with a dating app. Hardly enough for happily ever after.

However, it is also important to note that 71% are willing to date outside of the app.

Okay, now what’s a dating app provider to do?

Create a better customer experience. How? By starting more conversations and crafting better matches. That’s it. The ticket to dominating the dating app arena. Now’s the time to test it out if you’re in this space. After all, the pandemic is keeping 32% of app users from in-person dates.

And—if you do it well enough—you won’t have to promote, because… 

Fact #5: 50% find dating apps from word of mouth.

We’ve always known word of mouth is a bit of a miracle. 

But in the dating world, it’s truly a knight in shining armor. Here’s why. In dating apps, 50% of all consumer acquisition comes from word of mouth referrals. Compare that to the 26% that’s tied to organic searching—and you can see why first impressions are so important. 

It only gets more essential the more channels you take a look at. While word of mouth is twice as effective as organic, it’s even higher with paid (where 21% of traffic comes from).

That makes sense. 

After all, who better to talk about your dating life with, then your closest friends? And if something’s working—or not— they’re the first people you’ll tell. Regardless of the reason, word of mouth is clearly the most powerful channel in this market. If you’re in it, use it.

Here’s how. 

Set up a loyalty program. And a referral system. Help your loyal users to share the love—literally. If you’re in a dating app, take this knowledge and apply it to your marketing strategies. A powerful referral incentive and a fun sharing program could generate millions for your brand. 

The bottom line.

In research, you need direct access to real buying behaviors.

Without a consumer panel, the data we’re sharing right here would have had multiple biases. By verifying behaviors ahead of time, you just bypassed all that. Here, we validated the actions we shared by only talking to consumers who’d recently used a dating app. They were validated long before they were surveyed.

We only included people who mattered. And, no one else. So, the feedback was captured while it was raw, and in-the-moment—at the end of using their dating app. The result? Real, first-party consumers, who are actively online or in-person sharing exactly what they thought. Now that’s real-time research. 

Need your own research? Send us an email.

By Maksym Minin

Reviewed by Allyson Wehn

Explore More Posts

Stay in Touch

Stay up to date on consumer trends by opting into our newsletter.