The Best Dating Apps for Relationships: A Survey

The best dating apps for relationships.

How does the 2020 online dater decode which apps are best for a “no strings attached” scenario versus which apps are conducive for a long-term, committed relationship? Unfortunately, no one can know for sure until they experiment for themselves — but we can certainly take a guess based on available data!

Most dating app users have only been able to determine the best apps to use for finding relationships through a lengthy trial and error process, and with COVID-19 muddling the dating world, the dilemma of “finding your person” is exacerbated more than ever.

Some apps like Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid are notoriously associated with hookup culture (best for users looking for more casual relationships), while other apps like Match.com, eHarmony, or even Hinge contain match-making algorithms that specifically cater to those looking for strong emotional connections and long-term partners.

To determine which dating apps are best for long-term relationships, Shane Co. went straight to the source, surveying 1,000 online daters across the U.S. Our dating app survey addressed the following topics:

  • What are the primary intentions of users on several popular dating apps?
  • What percentage of daters met their partner or spouse on a dating app?
  • How long does the average online dating relationship last?
  • What are the collective feelings about meeting someone organically vs. on an app?

Read on to see the full results!

Survey Findings

A graph representing the perception vs. reality of the best dating apps.

The results of the survey revealed that our perception doesn’t always match up to reality. When asked which app they would turn to when looking for a committed relationship, the largest number of respondents (29%) said Match.com, but when asked which app they had actually met the most long-term partners on, most respondents (30%) said Tinder. 

Likewise, 48% of survey respondents said Tinder is the app they’re most likely to use when looking for a casual hookup; yet, when asked where they met their current, serious partner, the majority of respondents named Tinder yet again. 

Tinder is famously perceived as the app for ghosting, hookups, and short-lived relationships. In reality, however, it’s the app where users are most often finding love. Apparently, 85% of Tinder users say “I love you” within the first year of dating. The sheer number of users on the app (6.03 million), as well as its expert match feature based on location proximity, might be helping the majority of Tinder daters find the one after all. 

A graphic representing the primary intention of users on three popular dating apps.

When asking about the primary intentions of users across different dating apps, Match.com topped the list as the number one app for committed relationships, according to popular opinion. 73% of respondents list that the primary intention of Match users is to find a serious relationship, compared to only 54% and 49% of respondents who believe that Bumble and Tinder users are primarily motivated by serious relationships.

A graphic representing swipe culture statistics and the average length of relationships.

Surprisingly enough, 67% of respondents found their current partner on a dating app, and 62% of respondents are either married or engaged to someone they met on a dating app. As time progresses and as more and more people join the ranks of online dating, these numbers will become far less shocking. In fact, over 50% of survey respondents say that the only way to really meet people or approach people romantically anymore is through a dating app. 

In 2020, dating through mobile apps is so ubiquitous that meeting someone organically at work, at an event, or through an acquaintance is becoming increasingly rare. Additionally, daters place enough trust in the apps’ match-making abilities that some are even willing to pay for subscriptions or premium versions of dating apps. According to our survey results, 68% of respondents are willing to pay for an app in order to find a serious, long-term relationship. 

Lastly, the majority of daters are active on more than one app at a time. 87% of respondents say that they consistently use multiple dating apps simultaneously, and 50% even admit to using different dating apps at once for different intentions — i.e. one app for a hookup or something casual versus one for a serious relationship. 

Wrapping Up

Ultimately, none of us knows which app will lead to finding a long-term partner with common goals and compatible interests. So much of dating, whether online or offline, takes time, patience, and a willingness to experiment. However, we hope our findings will be helpful as you’re traversing the world of online dating and finding the app that’s right for you. 

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The best dating apps for relationships survey ran from September 24-26, 2020.

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