Could having a successful love life also be attributed to economic downturn? The New York Times reported that Match.com reached more dating app first dates are initiated when market sentiments are low.
With the advent of online based dating sites, a swath of analytics are available to derive sociological meaning from. Match.com’s data shows strong correlations of ambitious first dates right around the time the economy tanks.
Despite sky-rocked unemployment rates, foreclosures, and failing businesses in the thick of the 2008 recession, Match.com saw their fall quarter as their busiest period in seven years (since post 9/11 woes). Even with monthly fees of $60, eHarmony.com reported a 20% increase in membership, and OkCupid saw a 50% increase in activity. Misery loves company, and with the increasing distrust in financial institutions, many looked for stability in romantic partnerships. In fact, Match.com and eHarmony.com logged some of their highest traffic volumes on days when the Dow Jones took a nose dive.
Tighter personal budgets prompt less discretionary spending, which includes small luxuries such as going out for drinks, where people typically meet with the goal of finding romantic prospects. Singles no longer need to spend money buying a potential partner drinks when first meeting them. Neurologists also say that good first dates release brain chemicals that can ease worries in other spheres of one’s life (e.g. layoffs, plummeting stocks, etc.)
In the long run, finding a partner and splitting bills is cost effective. In tough times, the idea of sharing bank accounts and receiving tax benefits incentivizes the subconscious desire for marriage.
Should hopeless romantics look forward to a dip in the market for better chances of finding love? While the choice between financial stability and love is certainly not a zero-sum game, the data doesn’t lie in times of economic woes bringing together more singles. Akin to the unemployment rate, perhaps it is worth looking at the spikes and drops in singles actively pursuing relationships.