New Bumble feature helps people communicate how they want to date as we emerge from lockdown

New Bumble data confirms a majority of Aussie users are ready to date IRL, with a shift towards ‘slow dating’. With the new data showing that almost half (45%) of Australian users believe dating apps are now more important to people versus pre COVID-19, the launch of the new feature is one of the ways in which Bumble is continuing to offer the community an easy way to connect safely and confidently off the app with ease.


Summary of data from the in-app Bumble research: Dating IRL


  • 89% of Australian Bumble users* are interested in dating at the moment, with 86% interested in IRL dating (once lockdown restrictions allow)


Virtual dating


  • 13% of Australian Bumble users claimed to have trailed video dating during COVID, and a further 58% claim to be open to trialling video dating
  • The main benefits of video dating for Australian Bumble users are safety (54%), speed of getting to know someone (43%), and speed of making up your mind about the suitability of a potential match (41%)


Changes to behaviour


  • 57% of Australian Bumble users claim that COVID has changed their own personal dating behaviours – the courtship process is likely to be longer and the trust bar before meeting is higher
  • 28% of Australian Bumble users believe that COVID has changed the dating landscape for the better
  • 55% are more keen than before to find a meaningful connection so that they have a partner if social distancing is brought back
  • Dating apps feel comparatively important to people now, vs pre COVID-19 times: with an average of 45% believing them to be more important, with only an 11% believing they’ve slipped in relevance to their lives.


Lucille McCart, Associate Director, APAC, PR + Comms, said, “Slow dating is all about taking your foot off the pedal and getting to know a Bumble match on a more intimate level before agreeing to a face-to-face date. This trend emerged during the national lockdown earlier this year when face-to-face dating was not an option and so people were forced to talk more online – we saw significant increases in adoption rates of our in-app voice call and video chat features as people evolved the way they communicated in the early stages of a match.”


Napoleon Dynamite chat online bumble
Source: Giphy


“Now that most Australian cities are out of lockdown, our community is starting to think about face-to-face dating again – although, many of the habits developed in lockdown are remaining part of the dating routine.”


As slow dating could be considered a little ‘old fashioned’, Lucille shared with Chattr her best tips on how to make the style of dating a little more exciting for millennials. “At the core is the idea that you are developing meaningful connections online before bringing the relationship into ‘real life’”, said Lucille. 


Lucille, Bumble


“We recently introduced a product feature called Question Game where you shuffle the questions until you find one you like (or create your own), and both you and your match have to respond before either answer is revealed. This is a great way to push a conversation forward, as often your responses will spark a funny response or flirty banter from your match. When it comes to virtual dating over video chat, we found that many users were using this as a way to recreate a real life date experience from home – things like ordering the same takeaway meal and going on a “dinner date” together, cooking the same recipe, or having a virtual happy hour together keep it interesting and fun.”


Simon Cowell fancy dinner bumble dating
Source: Giphy


Lucille mentioned the app has just partnered up with Menulog recently to give Melburnians 20% off their Menulog order last Saturday night, 25 July. Through this partnership, they hoped to help the Melbourne community create romantic experiences for their matches this over the weekend, which may be the start of something special. 


We asked Lucille a few more questions surrounding the data.


Question: Looking at the data, why do you think such a high volume of people are interested in IRL dating when there are so many apps and platforms that exist now for people to be able to date virtually for as long as they want to? Many of us have admitted to feeling scared of IRL dating and fear IRL rejection.


Answer: “We are inherently social creatures. When our ability to physically interact was limited during lockdown, we sought out other means to connect and engage – hence why we saw such significant spikes in video chats between March and May. Now that some parts of Australia are heading out of lockdown and into an environment where IRL dating is possible, it makes sense that we are interested and excited by the idea. But the interesting thing about the data is that even though 86% of users are interested in IRL dating, 41% are unsure about how to approach this. Things like knowing what level of physical intimacy is appropriate (for example if it is ok to kiss on the cheek or hug) and knowing where to actually go on a first date ranked high on people’s considerations. So while we are thinking more about IRL dating, we are cautious about actually doing it. Ultimately I think that as we navigate our way through this new world of dating, virtual dating will become a natural stepping stone between text chat and meeting face-to-face.”


lady and the tramp kiss dating bumble
Is a kiss okay on a post-lockdown first date? Source: Giphy


Question: How does video dating help people better understand if they’re a match?


Answer: “You can be having an amazing back and forth with a match over text, but that is not always a sure-fire indicator that your chemistry will translate into a face-to-face connection. A video chat gives you a chance to better understand your match’s tone, sense of humour and personality before you commit to a date.”


Question: 57% of Australian Bumble users claim that COVID has changed their own personal dating behaviours – the courtship process is likely to be longer and the trust bar before meeting is higher. Why is that, do you think?


Answer: “The experience of being in lockdown for so many months had a big impact on many people. The number of people we interacted with on a daily basis dramatically reduced, almost overnight. We went from busy workplaces and crowded bars to working from home with just your family or flatmates around, and for some people living alone, it was incredibly isolating. Even though restrictions are starting to lift in most parts of the country it is not an immediate return to “normal” – many people are still working from home and social distancing is enforced in many public places and venues. Suddenly the idea of meeting someone new became a lot more significant, which is why the “getting to know each other” phase is being extended for many matches, as they are less likely to rush straight to the “meet for a drink” phase, as they may have done a few months ago.


Question: 28% of Australian Bumble users believe that COVID has changed the dating landscape for the better. Why is that, do you think?


“One of the positives about this experience is it has made many people think more deeply about what they are looking for in a partner – in our research, 35% of users said they are less concerned about what their match physically looks like and more concerned with their personality. I think that people are dating more intentionally and being more open and honest with each other, which is proven in the many relationships that we saw develop during lockdown.”


Question: 55% are more keen than before to find a meaningful connection so that they have a partner if social distancing is brought back. This definitely makes sense. Do you think overall, Australians who using Bumble are desiring relationships rather than casual hook-ups during the current climate?


“I definitely think that the current environment for dating has given a lot of Australian singles the chance to pause and think about what they are looking for romantically. Anecdotally, I recently spoke to a male Bumble user in his early 20s who had never had a serious girlfriend before lockdown, but matched with a woman in April and developed such a strong connection online that soon after they met for the first time in May they became “official” – this type of story is not uncommon and is reflective of the mindset of many people right now.”


You can opt-in to add this dating badge to your Bumble profile by going into ‘Edit profile’ (bottom left corner) and clicking on ‘Tap to edit profile’ under your photograph.


Once the dating badge is added, you can then filter potential matches who have selected the same preferences whether it’s virtual-only or IRL.


* According to government guidelines as of X June
**Results from a 10 minute survey sent to a representative sample of Bumble Australian users, May 15th-18th 2020. 375 Australian respondents.
***Data compares calls during the week ending May 1, vs video calls during the week ending March 13 – this only further validates that when physical connection is limited humans will seek out other means to interact and engage, and Video Calling is meeting that demand.


Cover image: Time (edits made) via Bumble