Tindering … for friends. College students say it’s not love, or hookups, but friendship that they’re using dating apps for.
In a recent survey of 200 college students, 73% ranked Tinder as their favorite dating app, followed by Bumble (13%) and OkCupid (10%). One student even listed Facebook as her favorite dating site.
The survey, conducted by college jobs startup WayUp (formerly Campus Job), asked college students about their dating habits.
Students claim they aren’t using Tinder — or the other dating apps — to date. The majority (58%) said that they’ve never even gone on a date using the popular apps.
53% say they’re using dating apps to find friends, 27% said they’re looking for a significant other, and the smallest percentage, 20%, said they were looking for a hookup.
It’s not that Tinder’s popularity on college campuses has waned. College students were among Tinder’s most active users when the service launched in 2012. Tinder, which is owned by the now public Match Group (MTCH), says 50% of its users are in the college age group — 18-24.
Sydney Mastrandrea, a sophomore at the University of Miami, said the fact that students say they use the app to find friends likely isn’t the whole truth.
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“I think people use [Tinder] for random hookups rather than [finding] friends — but say it’s for ‘friends’ so they aren’t judged,” she told CNNMoney.
According to Jason Helfstein, Internet analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., it doesn’t really matter why students are using the app, there’s still “value” in it for Tinder — and Match Group.
Dating industry analyst Mark Brooks agrees.
“It helps people connect with the concept of Internet dating,” he said, noting that as people start to look for more serious relationships “they’ll generally drift toward other services.”
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Those services, like Match.com, offer paid subscriptions. Tinder, on the other hand, only recently rolled out its Tinder Plus premium service in a bid to start monetizing the app.
Those paying for the service likely aren’t college students, though.
While Tinder doesn’t disclose demographic data about its subscribers, dating analyst David Evans said it’s likely not a hit with the younger set. “There’s no money in anybody under 22.”