After global markets bled trillions off the back of the COVID- 19 pandemic, major dating juggernaut Match Group Inc (Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match.com, OK Cupid and Hinge) rebounded 18% on Tuesday evening (March 24), almost double the SP 500’s recovery off the back of the US stimulus package.
But why would a dating company respond to the initial market hit in such bullish form during this bizarre social shutdown? Well it turns out that social distancing hasn’t deterred the love seekers. They’ve merely adapted and the dating industry has followed suit.
Like a resilient tree, clinging to life by seeping it’s roots into the cracks of a sandstone cliff, the desire for connection will not be stopped.
Bloomberg News reported that the dating industry “are betting more people will … pay extra to find love—even if it’s virtual for the time being.”
In a time when, more than ever, you need to vet a potential someone, people are looking to pay more to find love and matchmakers are receiving enquires from a whole new market.
Jefferies Investment Bank analyst Brent Thill told Bloomberg.com, “The big challenge right now is, who wants to go on a date with someone they don’t know,”
Enter Australia’s Millionaire Matchmaker and Director of Elite Introductions, Trudy Gilbert. Trudy tells us that despite the world turning upside down, enquiries and web traffic have increased. “I think people are taking stock of their lives and are deciding, you know what? It’s time for me to think about what’s really important in life.” says Gilbert.
Co-founder of US dating app Ship, Jordana Abraham, suggests that love will find a way through the loneliness of social distancing.“People are feeling isolated, says Abraham. “Particularly those who are single and can’t go home to their families. They are physically isolated, but not socially isolated.”
In a recent interview with Mashable.com, Match Group Inc’s chief dating expert Rachel DeAlto, took a ‘glass half-full’ approach when assessing the change in behaviour due to COVID-19. “Seeing as people all around the world are being encouraged or forced to stay inside, dating has shifted into unprecedented territory. We should not stop dating under quarantine, but instead adapt”.
“I honestly do believe that it’s an opportunity to slow down to get to know each other,” DeAlto told Mashable and brought up video chats as a way to keep dating in the current climate.
Across the Pacific in Australia
Elite Introductions chief Trudy Gilbert agrees. “It appears that nothing will stand in the way of love and it might just take an event that changes the world forever for people to really think about what matters to them.”
Gilbert suggests that self-isolation might have some unexpected effects on both singles and couples. “There’ll be some who bond at this time, realizing what matters is each other, enjoying some unexpected bonus time together,” suggests Gilbert, “while others will have their disfunction shoved in their faces and, due to the current situation, find themselves being more fatalistic about their future. A lot of mud could be stirred. Let’s just say it’s gonna be make or break for a lot of relationships”
The 14 year matchmaker veteran is no stranger to using video to woo a potential someone. “My current partner and I reconnected after a 24 year hiatus from a brief friendship right before he moved to the US when we were young adults,” says Gilbert, who’s matchmaking agency caters only to the exclusive high income professionals and business owner set. “We ran into each other after decades and quickly got together for a couple drinks the day before I was going oversees on vacation for almost a month. We were a little frustrated with the timing but it actually turned out to be a blessing. We spent countless hours hanging out on FaceTime and really got to know each other at a very deep level before there was any opportunity for physical contact.”
Forced isolation, although tough for some, may have a silver lining when it comes to love. They can take the time to really get to know someone and let the attraction grow, building the anticipation for the inevitable tete a tete.
“Good things are worth waiting for,” says the Elite Introductions Director, when discussing her relationship. “The time we spent just talking to each other without actually being in the same physical space enabled us to find our alignments of life values, interests and love language. We believe it created a beautiful foundation for the wonderful relationship we enjoy today.”
Current Elite Introductions member Ben 44 has been on a couple dates with new member Kath, but it’s still early days. However, the current social restrictions have extended the virtual courting period.
“It’s nice to have someone there”, says Ben, a CEO of a software development company, who’s self-isolating in Sydney after an oversees business trip. “If the global shutdown wasn’t happening I would have been out more with Kath and not really had this opportunity to get to know each other the way we are now.”
Gilbert suggests that love rises to a challenge and even thrives when restricted and Elite Introductions are looking at ways to accommodate their members who won’t be stopped by the closing of public venues. “We’re exploring some exciting, fun, intimate and safe ways for our members to date. Video is just one of many ideas we’re floating with our clients. Personally I feel blessed that I’m sharing this trying time with a special someone and others want that too. They want to share the good and the challenging times with a life partner in every sense of the word. They’re not stopped by this life change. Love will find a way.”