Gen Z, Millennials ditching dating apps for live events

Online dating apps are losing popularity as Gen Z and Millennials are turning to in-person dating events.

According to a report conducted by Eventbrite and released last week, attendance at singles and dating events on the platform increased 42% from 2022 to 2023.

From May 2023 to April 2024, Eventbrite also saw over 1.5 million searches for this type of event and reported that over 376,000 people attended dating and singles events. 

"Singles have voiced their frustrations with online dating, and we’ve heard them loud and clear: they want more in-person opportunities to connect and bond over mutual passions, be it paddle board yoga, kombucha brewing, backyard beekeeping, or freehand glassblowing," Eventbrite’s co-founder and CEO Julia Hartz said in their report. 


FILE - People talk to one another during a singles mixer in Venice where eligible singles participated in cold plunge speed dating. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The shift comes at a time when dating apps are under fire for their addictive or "gamified" nature. 

Earlier this year, Tinder, Hinge and other dating apps were sued over ever-increasing features that encourage compulsive use, such as "a perpetual pay-to-play loop that prioritizes profit over the promise to help users find relationships."

Dating apps make money when users pay for a subscription. Almost all dating apps offer different subscription tiers, which unlock features that promise more engagement and better matching potential. 

READ MORE: Tinder, Hinge, and other dating apps facing lawsuit over 'addictive' features

Almost half of Gen Z participants in the Eventbrite report said their biggest challenge with online dating was finding someone who they have shared interests with. About a third of Millennials believe this as well. 

Aside from common interest activities, Eventbrite found that in the last year, more than 57% of dating and singles events on Eventbrite were speed-dating events. 

"What many people used to consider a ‘last resort’ has now become a fun night out meeting new people," said Andea Ramirez, founder of The Next Fun Thing and Love in LA. 

Love in LA hosts an average of three speed-dating events a week, each one catering to different age groups, locations, and sexual preferences. 

Despite the increased interest in in-person dating events, most daters are still hopeful to meet someone through a good old-fashioned introduction from a mutual friend, the survey found.

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Eventbrite says this shift in dating from online to "IRL" (in real life) speaks to a broader societal shift where people are craving genuine connections and meaningful experiences tailored to their interests. 

This story was reported from Detroit.