Dating. For some of us, it’s a walk in the park! For others, a one-on-one making small talk with someone we've just met really is our worst nightmare. But just how many people in the UK are on the hunt for a romantic partner? And where exactly are us Brits going to meet our potential love interests?
To find out, we conducted a survey of UK adults and had a nosey into online searches around dating in order to get all of the most up-to-date facts and figures on the world of romance in 2021...
Our research found that:
- Surprise, surprise! Tinder is still the UK’s most popular dating app, with 823,000 average monthly searches.
- Women prefer to meet potential partners online compared to men, with 27.7% of women preferring online dating methods as opposed to 23.2% of men.
- Meeting someone at a bar or club on a night out is vastly preferred amongst almost every age group surveyed, with the exception of the 16-24 age group, who prefer social media - of course!
- Plymouth is the only UK city with a clear preference for online dating, with 23.3% of people here preferring to meet prospective partners through dating apps and another 16.7% via social media.
- Newcastle, however, prefers social media platforms for dating more than any other UK city, with 19% preferring this method over others.
To find out where us Brits most want to meet our potential love interests, we conducted a survey of 2,000 people using the market research tool Censuswide in September 2021. We asked:
‘Where, if anywhere, do you prefer to meet prospective romantic partners? (Tick up to 3)’ answer options:
- There is nowhere that I prefer to meet prospective romantic partners
- In bars/clubs on a night out
- At work
- Online using dating apps
- Online using social media platforms
- College/university/other learning environment
- At conferences or other professional events
- Church or a church group
- At offline dating events like speed dating or similar
- Other, please specify
As you can see from the graph:
- Meeting someone at a bar or club on a night out was vastly preferred over any other option available.
- The second most popular preferred way to meet potential partners was actually at the workplace, with 13.9% of people preferring this method.
- The third most popular method comes in the form of online dating, with dating apps only just taking prevalence over social media platforms, which are also very popular. Surprised? We’re not either!
From the results of our survey we also found out that:
- Women generally prefer to meet potential partners online compared to men, with 27.7% of women preferring online dating methods as opposed to 23.2% of men.
- As we said, meeting someone at a bar or club on a night out is vastly preferred amongst almost every age group surveyed. But the exception to this rule is the 16-24 age group, who prefer social media.
- Of all UK cities, Plymouth is the only city to prefer dating apps over any other way of meeting people, with 23.3% of folk there preferring to swipe their dates rather than buy them a drink.
The figures for how many women/men prefer online dating methods were obtained through adding the percentages of each gender’s responses from the ‘online using dating apps’ and ‘online using social media platforms’ categories. This is based on responses and not respondents, since respondents to the survey could choose more than one answer.
Does gender play a part in how we wish to meet potential future partners? We all know that men are fom Mars and women are from Venus, but perhaps we’re more alike than we think! To find out, we analysed men and women’s responses to our survey and found that:
- Broadly speaking, both men and women really want to meet their prospective romantic partners organically, out at a bar or club, with 19.4% of men and 20.5% of women hopeful that their next relationship will start on a night out.
- Women tend to be more enthusiastic about online dating methods, with 14.3% of women as opposed to 12.1% of men preferring use of dating apps, and 13.4% of women as opposed to 11.1% of men preferring social media platforms.
- Men tend to prefer other offline dating methods, with 8.1% preferring professional events, 7.6% preferring offline dating events, and 7.5% preferring church groups. For women, the figures for these methods of meeting prospective partners was slightly lower, at 6.3%, 6.7%, and 6.5% respectively.
- Quite a few more women than men prefer to meet a potential romantic partner at an educational institute like college or university, with 10.8% of women preferring this method in opposition to just 7.7% of men choosing an academic environment for their courting.
We decided to have a snoop at some online search volumes to see which dating apps are most popular in the UK and which cities are most up for finding prospective partners online.
We used the Keyword Finder tool to find out which dating apps are doing the best, based on how many people in the UK search for them.
And we can now definitively announce that the most popular dating app in the UK in 2021 is… drumroll please… Tinder! Hmm not much of a revelation, really. I guess the OG of dating apps is still yet to be otherthrown!
- There are 823,000 average monthly searches in the UK for the dating app giant Tinder. With so many other modern dating apps and services copying its simple-yet-effective ‘swiping’ function, it’s really no surprise that it’s got nearly a million singles in the UK alone searching for it.
- The runner-up Badoo was still a mile behind Tinder, at 644,000 average monthly UK searches.
- The next 3 apps in the running are Match, Plenty of Fish, and Zoosk, with 533k, 449k and 151k average monthly searches each, respectively.
Doesn't look like anyone's going to be beating out Tinder anytime soon, that's for sure!
When it comes to finding romance online, we’ve rounded up the top 10 cities in the UK that are most up for meeting their prospective dates through the internet, whether via dating apps or social media:
- Plymouth comes out on top 40% of people’s responses indicating a preference for online dating methods over more traditional approaches. This is made up of 23.3% of people who say they’d rather meet prospective partners through dating apps, and 16.7% preferring social media for their online dating exploits.
- It's clear that the Geordies really like their social media, with 19% of people in Newcastle preferring social media platforms over all else for meeting potential love interests, and 15.2% of people there preferring dating apps.
- Belfast is a close runner-up, with 17.8% of respondents preferring dating apps, and a slightly lesser 13.3% choosing social media instead for meeting potential partners.
This data was obtained by recording the percentages of responses preferring dating apps and social media as separate dating methods, and adding together these percentages to give an idea of the popularity of dating online in each UK city.
While putting together this data, we also did a little digging to find a few fun facts about the UK’s online dating scene and the market that surrounds it.
We found out that:
- The market size for dating services in the UK industry is a whopping £273 million! I know, crazy right? And by 2025 this is predicted to increase to a staggering £6.7 billion.
- It’s no surprise that the United States is the biggest cash cow when it comes to the online dating market, generating around $5.3 billion in 2021. Whereas across the pond, our romance expenses are closer to £273 million. Seems tiny in comparison, doesn’t it?
- A recent study found that 21% of Brits would be more likely to use online dating if users on the apps/sites were vetted more thoroughly.
- Which makes sense, since ‘romance fraud’, catfishing and fake dating profile reports were up 40% in the year to April 2021. And the actual number is likely to be much higher, since many victims of romance fraud don’t report their experiences.
So whether you've dived head first into a relationship, are tentatively dipping your toe in the unknown waters of your local dating scene, or you're simply admiring a crush from afar with no idea how to make the first move, why not put your phone down and send a love note from our collection of romantic cards instead!