Over the years, online dating has become almost completely normalized. While it used to carry certain stigmas, it’s now one of the most popular ways for couples to meet.
A recent study showed that 39% of straight couples met online in the U.S. and more than half of LGBTQ couples have used dating apps, according to the Pew Research Center.
Now, people are turning to the internet just to make friends.
“I was doing it when it was still embarrassing, you know, to admit that you were on these dating apps. And so it’s going to be the same thing with friendships,” said Niobe Way, professor of developmental psychology at New York University.
Apps like Bumble BFF and Meetup have become popular ways to build platonic relationships.
“When you think about the changes that the pandemic brought, the move to remote work, I think it’s very common for folks across all ages and life stages to say that, hey, I’ve grown, I’ve changed in the last few years and I’m looking to rebuild community and connection now,” said Beth Berger, general manager and vice president of Bumble BFF.
Berger said that by the end of 2021, 15% of Bumble users had also used BFF, which is short for best friends forever.
“The idea of social discovery and sort of expanding the barriers of online dating beyond just sort of romantic relationships to more just meeting people, finding friends online — it’s something that both Match and Bumble are really focused on,” said Lauren Schenk, an analyst Morgan Stanley.
However, BFF hasn’t yet proven to be lucrative for Bumble. Schenk said that Morgan Stanley’s 2023 revenue estimate for Bumble is just over $1 billion — with only about $1 million coming from Bumble BFF and friend-finding service Bizz.