The popular dating app has garnered insights from more than 25,000 singles on Bumble around the world to identify trends that will define dating and relationships in the year to come.
Over the past year, we’ve seen fandoms reach new heights, discovered a new obsession with American Football (players), seen men embrace their inner ‘ken-ergy’, and witnessed iconic women driving the economy through their creativity.
Bumble’s 2023 trends focused on navigating love abroad with Wanderlove, dating beyond your type with Open-casting and establishing new boundaries with our partners, our work lives and our finances. Looking ahead, 2024 is set to be the year of “self” in dating and relationships with more people looking inwards at what they value and want.
This personal prioritisation sees singles rejecting the constant strive for perfection, discarding outdated timelines, challenging ‘jobification’, and placing more value on emotional vulnerability, self-acceptance, and shared priorities.
Heading into 2024, there is an air of optimism and clarity for the ‘year of self’ as Bumble’s research* shows that more than half (57%) of women surveyed are going into the new year with a clear view of what they want from their romantic lives.
Bumble’s dating trend predictions include:
Building on dating beyond your ‘type’, there has been an increase in cross-generational relationships. Singles on Bumble are increasingly open to connections both older and younger. For 2 in 3 (63%) people, age is not a defining factor when dating with more than half (59%) of women saying they are now more open to dating someone younger than them. We’re also changing how we view others’ relationships with nearly half (45%) of Irish women stating age gaps in relationships become less significant as partners get older over the last year.
Singles today are looking for shared priorities and expect their partners to not only care about social causes but to actively engage. Val-Core refers to the rise of people valuing engagement on issues that matter to them. For 1 in 4 (25%) people on Bumble it is key that their partner actively engages with politics and social causes, in fact it makes them more attractive.
Research also cites women are less open to someone with differing political views and for 1 in 3 (33%) women it is a turn-off if someone they are dating is not aware of current societal issues.
From biohacking and starting your day at 5am, to plugging into self-help podcasts, there has been a rise in people ‘self-optimising’ – striving to become a perfect version of themselves. This has led the majority of singles (55%) to feel pressure to constantly look for ways to better themselves, leaving 1 in 4 (24%) feeling unworthy of a partner. Looking ahead to 2024, singles are rebelling against the constant self-improvement with more than 2 in 3 women (68%) taking active steps to be happier with who they are here and now. In fact, 2 in 5 (40%) Irish women said they will now only date people who will not try to change them.
For people today, and particularly women, it seems attraction comes down to one key thing: emotional intimacy. Singles are focused on finding security, safety, and understanding, with a third (32%) of people surveyed on Bumble believing that emotional intimacy is now more important than sex and that it’s actually more attractive than physical connection. When it comes to dating, an overwhelming majority (83%) of Irish women say it’s key that their partner has an understanding of both emotional and physical intimacy. In 2024, it’s time to get in your feels.
The year has been filled with global conversations about masculinity and gender roles in fashion, media, music, and film (ken-ergy, anyone?). When it comes to relationships, 1 in 4 (25%) men state that they have actively changed their behaviour, becoming more vulnerable and open with people they are dating than ever before. For a quarter of men (25%), this new-found openness has had a positive impact on their mental health and for 1 in 3 (32%) a lack of vulnerability is now a dating dealbreaker. In Ireland, Gen Z is driving this trend with 1 in 3 (32%) of men in Ireland stating that their male friends are increasingly practicing healthy masculinity.
People, especially women, continue to feel a constant pressure to follow traditional relationship timelines. Into 2024, we’re seeing the decline of timelines in favour of women choosing to actively build their own path, with 1 in 3 (31%) women saying they are no longer focused on adhering to traditional timelines and milestones. This is reflected in intentions with nearly 3 in 4 (72%) of women looking for a long-term relationship and only 1 in 5 (23%) seeking marriage. For nearly a third (31%) of women, this means only dating people who have the same perspective on timelines and milestones. More than 1 in 4 (28%) of Irish women say seeing posts from friends online makes them worry that they aren’t meeting traditional timelines.
MVP (Most Valuable Partner):
With a new wave of women tennis stars, a constant stream of sports documentaries, and a global competition next summer, sports is set to take a front seat in dating – or maybe we’re just all after our own Taylor and Kelce love story? For 1 in 3 (31%) singles, a shared love of sports has now become a ‘must have’ regardless of if you’re a player or simply a spectator. Our obsession with sports is also changing how we date with a quarter of people (24%) stating that attending sports together is important, particularly amongst Gen-Z and Millennial singles. In Ireland, nearly 2 in 3 (61%) of profiles on Bumble include a sports interest badge and the top athletics include: Football, Rugby, and Swimming.**
This year’s prioritisation of self-care and mental health has led to more than half (58%) of singles being more open about their mental health and making a concerted effort to slow down. Single people are reframing how they date to better protect their mental health, with almost 1 in 3 (31%) actively ‘slow-dating’ and being considerate about how much they are dating to ensure quality over quantity, even more so amongst women. In fact, more than 1 in 3 (36%) of women are actively seeking people who value both time and self-care. This is bringing back a trend that Bumble identified in the pandemic, challenging the “job-ification” of love with 1 in 4 (25%) people actively deterred by anyone who treats a date as a checklist exercise.
Naomi Walkland, Bumble’s Vice-President for Europe said: “In 2023, we identified trends on love abroad, new boundaries, and a more open approach to typecasting. Intertwined with our dating lives, we saw societal conversations on misogyny, women’s rights, and social issues that left many exhausted. In our research, we’ve seen that these cultural conversations have impacted the way that people on Bumble are dating – empowering their sense of self and seeking people who value what’s also important to them, whether it’s social causes, lifestyles or just their favourite sports team.
We’ve also seen that singles are increasingly looking inwards, unpacking expectations around age, perfection, and timelines, and seeking people who are more vulnerable and accepting of who they are. 2024 will bring a year of self, with people more empowered than ever to prioritise what they value and what they will not stand for, leading to a new clarity about what they want in their romantic lives.”
To empower singles to make the most of 2024, Bumble has launched new features including Best Bees, a curated daily set of four compatible profiles to help you find more relevant connections faster. See someone who also shares your passion for sports or sustainability? You can send a message with the Compliments feature.