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Bumble to relaunch amidst waning Gen Z interest in dating apps

Gen Z are slowly ditching dating apps in favour of real-life socialising. It could wind up costing big companies like Bumble a fair buck. Now, it has announced a relaunch later in the year alongside widespread layoffs.

Have you ever tried to using a dating app to find love?

Algorithmic, expensive, time-consuming, and arguably addictive, dating apps have been a headache for young singletons over the past decade or so. Seemingly promising endless feeds of potential lovers, dating apps have successfully ‘gamified’ the complex and often random process of meeting a life partner, so much so that they’re beginning to put off Gen Zers.

In fact, there’s a widespread, negative, and growing shift in public perception toward online dating and apps.

Where once they were seen as a novel gimmick that promised love, they’re instead now mostly viewed as unpleasant, ineffective, and ideal platforms for bots and scammers to thrive.

College students in particular seem the most disinterested. A study last year by Axios and research firm Generation Lab found that 79% of this age group are finding connections in real life, rather than through social media. This is at odds with Gen Z’s usual favouritism toward online platforms against all other forms of media.

Big dating apps are feeling the cultural change and are attempting to adapt. Bumble, the Austin-based platform that is considered an industry leader, just announced a 30% lay off across its workforce in its latest earning report, equating to 350 jobs.

This is despite an increase in revenue of 16.4% over 2022 and an uptake in paying users by 16.9% to 3.7 million in 2023.

While it’s numbers may be up, Bumble knows that it needs to persuade an emerging market of Gen Zers to give dating apps a go if it wants to remain financially healthy long-term. Its layoffs are likely part of a plan to reinvent the business and further streamline its operations, with an experience curated toward Gen Z needs above all else.

Slack’s ex-CEO Lidiana Jones was recently announced as the new chief executive at Bumble. She stated that there was ‘an opportunity to approach younger users differently to meet the need of more organic discovery [of] love.’


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A post shared by Bumble (@bumble)

In addition, Bumble will also be relaunching in the second quarter of 2024, promising a ‘compelling modern experience’ that ‘has a stronger appeal to younger users’. New features will reportedly include easier tools to create profiles, insights on profile pictures and their effectiveness, and better overall app performance.

This coincides with Tinder’s latest internal developments, which include testing of AI photo selection features and a return to college campus marketing. According to MatchGroup’s letter to financial shareholders at the end of 2023, Tinder’s revenue was up 11% over the previous year.

So, what does all this mean? While younger people are clearly souring over their dating app experiences, this isn’t fully translating to a loss in revenue for big brands like Tinder and Bumble – yet.


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However, with key efforts being made to place greater emphasis on Gen Z needs, it’s obvious that the industry recognises this growing market as a potential problem if cultural trends continue.

Platforms such as Bumble will know they’re regarded as an annoying utility for many younger users, rather than a novel, fun experience, and will be aiming to change this perception in the coming years.

Will they be able to get Gen Zers back online? It’s not clear just yet. For now, though, it’s worth keeping an eye on how Bumble attempts to reinvent itself this year.