Many people emerging from long periods of pandemic isolation do not have romantic entanglements at the forefront of their minds. Instead, they yearn for the friendships and social groups that they have been missing for the past year.
That is the conclusion of dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, which are launching or acquiring new services aimed solely at making and maintaining friendships.
‘There’s a really interesting trend that has been taking place in the connection space, which is this desire to have platonic relationships,’ said Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd. ‘People are seeking friendship in ways they would have only done offline before the pandemic,’ She added. Her company is investing in its Bumble BFF (best friends forever) feature, which it said comprised about 9 percent of Bumble’s total monthly active users in September 2020 and ‘has room to grow as we increase our focus on this space’.
Meanwhile, its archrival Match Group – which owns a slew of dating apps such as Tinder and Hinge – is expanding beyond love and lust. This year, it paid $1.7 billion to South Korean social media firm Hyperconnect, whose apps allow people to chat from all over the world using real-time translation. Last year, Hyperconnect’s revenue increased by 50%, while Meetup, which helps you meet people with similar interests at local or online events, has seen a 22% increase in new members since January. This year, the most searched word on Meetup was friends.’