Ditching dating apps: singletons are falling out of love with digital matchmaking

Monday 12th February 2024

  • New research from Novuna Personal Finance reveals that dating app disillusionment is felt most strongly by Gen-Z singletons with over half of 18-24 year olds (57%) falling out of love with digital matchmaking
  • More than half of all adults (53%) single and ready to mingle are ditching dating apps in favour of pursuing a more old-fashioned approach to finding love
  • Boredom (67%) fuels dating app usage for two-thirds of Gen-Zers with swiping becoming more a form of entertainment than about finding love

Single adults across the UK are falling out of love with dating apps and pursuing more traditional means to find a potential partner,  according to new research by Novuna Personal Finance.

The study, which polled over 2,000 individuals across the UK, sheds light on the preferred matchmaking methods of singletons looking for love, with over half of all respondents (53%) stating they would rather ditch dating apps to meet that special someone in person.

According to the survey, dating app disillusionment is felt most strikingly among Gen Z singletons with more than half (57%) of 18-24 year-olds turning their backs on dating apps to find love offline ‘the old fashioned way’.

The Novuna research, revealing the demise of dating apps with real life matchmaking back in vogue, coincides with figures illustrating online dating is becoming a more expensive but less popular business. Dating app providers have raised prices and introduced new subscription levels in response to falling numbers of paid users and a decline in dating app downloads1.

Overall, almost three quarters (73%) of respondents who are still persevering by looking for love on their phones are doing so with the intention of meeting a partner with just under a third (31%) swiping out of boredom (31%).

Strikingly, over two thirds (67%) of Gen-Z singletons use online dating primarily to relieve boredom above genuine matchmaking intentions (61%).

However, despite many singletons readily turning their backs on increasingly expensive dating apps, for those looking for romance with a new prospective partner, some, particularly 25-34 year olds, might be best to think again and keep swiping rather than seeking a real-life rendezvous.

Over a third (35%) of 25–34-year-olds met their current partner online, compared to 28% of 18-24 and 35-44 year olds, and only 22% of 45-54 year olds.  Interestingly, the over 45’s, although less likely to use dating apps (over 50% less usage than younger audiences), have a greater success rate of meeting people online when they do.

When considering regional differences across the UK, singletons in Wales (68%) are most readily falling out of love with dating apps to meet their love match compared to less than half of singletons in Yorkshire and the East of England where less than half of adults have ditched digital matchmaking (49%).

Region by region - How adults across the UK are falling out of love with digital matchmaking

As well as a backlash against ever pricier digital dating gathering pace, research by Novuna shows the financial squeeze extends to expectations on the cost of engagement rings too.

In good news for romantics planning to get down on one knee to pop the question to their future spouse on Valentine’s Day, three quarters of respondents (74%) reject the traditionally held notion that the cost of an engagement ring should equate to three months’ salary.

Instead, almost half of both men (47%) and women (43%) declare they’d be content for the ring to cost less than £1,000, whilst nearly a third of men (27%) and women (31%) don’t have a cost front of mind.

Theresa Lindsay, Director of Marketing, Novuna Personal Finance, said: “Our research reveals that digital dating fatigue is driving those that are single and ready to mingle to aspire to find companionship more naturally as the dating game goes full circle.

“Monetised matchmaking is increasingly a turn off for singletons of all ages serious about finding love. Younger adults in particular with genuine intentions of meeting that special someone are increasingly dumping dating apps in favour of more conventional courtship.

“The romantic journey to finding your future spouse can often be an expensive one. However, our findings show that the rules of engagement are also evolving, with couples ditching the traditional three-month rule which has become outdated as couples look to balance their wider finances.”

For more exclusive statistics on how Brits are finding forever love, visit: https://www.novunapersonalfinance.co.uk/leisure-loans/wedding-loans/dating-stats/


  1. Dating apps test just how much users will pay for love (ft.com)


The findings are the result of a YouGov omnibus research study conducted from 30 January to 31 January 2024. During this time, 2,031 UK adults were surveyed.