Just as “Google” became a verb interchangeable with “search,” Tinder ($MTCH) has changed the language of dating. To “swipe” is to immerse yourself in a seemingly endless stream of local singles. When the app launched in 2012, many of its users were new to online dating. Eight years later, the novelty has become the norm.
Tinder has developed a reputation as the “hook-up app,” mainly useful if you’re looking for one-night-stands. Other dating apps have gained popularity as they position themselves as the solution. Hinge ($PRIVATE:HINGE) was founded the same year as Tinder, but only reached similar success with 2019’s rebranding effort. Its slogan, “Designed to be deleted,” brands the app as Tinder’s more serious counterpart.
And it’s working. Over the past year, the Apple Store ($AAPL) ratings for Hinge have grown 123%, while Tinder’s rating count has only increased by 52%.
“Tinder puts the most swiped people to the front, so I have to go through 30 models who aren’t gonna swipe on me before I get a match,” Joe*, 24 said. “At that point, I’m just swiping right on literally everyone and the swipes don’t have any significance or meaning anymore.”
Suffice it to say, people aren’t exactly rushing to Tinder in search of romance anymore. Tinder’s Facebook ($FB) ‘Talking About’ count surged last Valentine’s Day at 124,000 mentions. But this year, that number dropped 80% down to 25,000.
Each dating service has its own stereotype, so your preferred app has a lot to do with your ideal partner. “I like Hinge because the guys actually have jobs,” Sara*, 26 told Thinknum. “Also it feels less creepy.” Zoe*, a 25-year-old Brooklynite, prefers Tinder. “The men are more attractive,” she says. “Hinge is just boring finance bros.”
Hinge’s ‘Talking About’ count peaked on January 2 at 1,400 mentions, likely the result of some New Year’s resolutions.
Match, which owns Tinder and countless other dating sites, acquired Hinge last year. So it seems to be in the company’s best interest for these apps to stay true to their distinct niches and purposes, whether you’re looking for Wall Street wolves or downtown artists, a lifelong partner or a temporary fling. Hinge may be the dating app du jour, but Tinder isn’t going anywhere.
* - Names have been changed
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.