Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Ta Ta Tinder, Bye Bye Bumble, Hello Hinge: Is the App That’s ‘Designed to Be Deleted’ the Future of Dating?

Should we say farewell to the OG apps and look towards a more relationship-centric approach to dating? Kelly Bertrand investigates Tinder v Hinge.

If you mention dating apps to anyone actively using them, you’ll more than likely get the same reaction – an eye roll, a prolonged sigh, an uncommitted shrug.

They’re a blessing, they’re a curse, they’re a punish, they’re everything that dating is. But since the launch of Tinder 10 years ago last week (YES IT’S BEEN 10 YEARS AND YES WE KNOW WE FEEL OLD TOO) dating apps have revolutionised the way we meet people.

It certainly changed the way I dated – during my single years I had two proper relationships, one that began on Tinder and one that began on Bumble. I had multiple almost-relationships, a few flings and countless shit dates – so, about the average user experience, I reckon.

As the years stretched on I got more comfortable meeting strangers for the first time. I got really good at regurgitating my life story succinctly, peppering cute and interesting anecdotes with some classic Kiwi self-deprecation to try and give a well-rounded insight into my personality.

But with that revolution has come the diversification of our app choices – and while Tinder walked so Bumble could run, the future of apo-based dating seems to now sit with Hinge, the app that’s ‘designed to be deleted’ and was once marketed as the ‘anti-Tinder’.

While Tinder still remains the biggest dating app in the world, its growth is shrinking, while Hinge has experienced massive growth, up 344% in January this year compared to January 2019 (don’t feel bad for the Tinder guys though – them and Hinge are owned by the same company).

By the end of my dating app I myself had graduated to Hinge. There seems to be a universally accepted progression – you start on Tinder to get your head around this whole dating thing, and maybe have a little fun. From there, when you hit the mid-late 20s, Bumble is your jam when you’re looking for something a little more serious.

And when you’re almost at the point where you want to scratch your eyes out so you don’t see any more photos of guys holding up fish, you head to Hinge.

Hinge is very much for people looking for something serious. Why? Well, the sheer amount of admin it takes to sign up. You fill in the usual information you’d find – age,  the ‘about me’ section, what you’re looking for in a partner – as well as ‘prompts’ that you answer such as ‘Dating me is like…’; ‘Together, we could…’; ‘Green flags I’m looking for…’; and ‘Typical Sunday…’.

The idea is that potential matches already have a plethora of conversation starters to get the chat going – and they can even be voice prompts, so you can hear the other person’s responses.

You also only get 10 likes a day on Hinge, compared to unlimited likes on Tinder and Bumble, which means matches are far more considered from the get go, and has an ‘anti-ghosting’ feature which reminds users to message back when it’s their turn.

It’s a lot of effort in the beginning, but Hinge is actually pretty admin-lite after the initial set up – you get a message if someone likes or comments on your profile.

So, why is Hinge experiencing such huge growth – and why are we turning our backs on the OGs of the dating app revolution?

Auckland woman Bridget, 32, says she’s noticed a huge increase in quality matches since she switched to Hinge.

“I just felt like guys on Bumble and Tinder would match with every girl they came across, and then see which ones messaged back,” she tells. “I mean there’s still weirdos out there, like there is in every app, but it does seem less. And, I’ve had some awesome matches on Hinge – there’s been a few that haven’t progressed to romantic relationships but I have made friends based off there, which I never have on the other apps.

“I’m seeing a guy I met of Hinge now and it’s actually going really well. The chat just started really strong, with the prompts giving us a really easy jumping off point for our first actual date.”

Since the pandemic, there has been research that suggests the amount of people looking for a serious, meaningful connection has increased, while Gen Z’s are more likely to be looking for relationships, rather than hook-ups.

Tinder’s vast majority of users are millennials, with the app failing to attract Gen Z’s, and while Hinge’s users are also millennial heavy (49%), it’s demographic is more spread out with the typical user most likely to be between 24 and 32.

Hinge CEO Justin McLeod says that since Covid, there has been a dating boom, and that there is now a greater impetuous for singles to find a partner, and that the “priority around finding a relationship has increased.”

“I don’t think that was the way it was before the pandemic,” he tells.

“When we’re faced with big life events such as this, it makes us reflect and realise that maybe we want to be with someone…  people are looking for something more serious. That is what we’re hearing. People are being a little bit more intentional about what they’re looking for coming out of this.”

The pandemic had a huge impact on all dating apps – Bumble reported a 70% increase in video calls with many opting for digital dating, while Tinder surpassed 3 billion swipes in one day for the first time ever. Hinge reported 10% growth per month in early 2021.

And by the middle of the 2030s, it’s thought that more people will meet online than in real life, which is a mind-boggling projection.

Godspeed team – and good luck out there!

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