Virtual dating up over a third during lockdown


Virtual dates soared by 36 per cent during lockdown – with six in 10 singletons admitting they enjoy the ‘new dating normal’.

One in four will continue to keep up virtual dating even after lockdown fully ends, to screen out non-starters in the search for romance.

The study, commissioned by Virgin Media, also found that in addition to first impressions, virtual dating speeds up relationships. Dating from a desktop takes an average of 60 minutes, compared to 86 minutes in person, with digital daters able to tell if they have a connection with someone after just 30 SECONDS of a video call.

It’s cheaper too, saving singletons £18 per date, with the removal of time and cost barriers giving daters more bang for their buck.

Says relationship expert Alix Fox – pictured above – who has teamed up with Virgin Media to create a digital guide for singletons:

“The idea that the average digital dater has just 30 seconds to make a great, but speedy, first impression online might seem intimidating to many.

“Which is why I’m proud to have partnered with Virgin Media to pass on tips to help people master those all-important first few moments of an online rendezvous.

“Sure, successfully navigating this brave new digital world takes a little extra effort and imagination, but those are qualities that are prized in a partner; with a little practice and polish, it’s absolutely possible to make deeply meaningful, valuable, lasting connections online”

The research also found that 55 per cent of 1,000 daters surveyed felt their virtual relationships blossom much faster than they would in person. And 45 per cent are more likely to make a relationship exclusive if they’ve been on a virtual date.

A third (34 per cent) of singletons are also less likely to date multiple people digitally at once than they might have done previously.

But while 44 per cent of men said they’re more likely to delete their dating apps and focus on one potential partner than they would prior to lockdown, just a quarter of women said the same.

Disinterested body language (33 per cent), poor Wi-Fi (16 per cent), eating loudly on camera (16 per cent) and going off camera too often (20 per cent) have been recognised as digital faux pas when it comes to making an impression on-screen.

Concludes Cilesta Van Doorn from Virgin Media:

“The internet has been at the heart of building relationships for years, but thanks to the ‘new normal’, digital dating has opened up a world of possibilities for those looking for love and meaningful connections online.”

Chris Price
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