Real life experiences are on the rise

Single adults across the UK are falling out of love with dating apps and pursuing more traditional means to find a potential partner, according to our unique new research. Are daters searching for meaningful real life connections that simply can't be replicated online? Or is the increasing cost of premium apps turning daters off? 


The majority of Brits meet their partner online

An overwhelming number of people met their partner in real life as opposed to connecting via a dating app. While age seems to have no bearing on how people met their other halves, when people met does influence how likely it is for someone to meet online vs IRL (in real life). 

Those who met their partner more recently are far more likely to have met online compared to those who met over ten years ago. 

The most popular places to meet your partner...

We took a look at exactly how people met their significant other, and found the results quite surprising! Nearly a quarter of those who met online met their partner through social media, with nearly two thirds meeting through a dating app.

Of those who met their partner in real life, nearly three in ten people were introduced by friends or family. While just 13% of people said they met through school or University, this percentage increases amongst the younger generation. Of 25-34 year olds year olds, 23% met through school or University, rising to 43% amongst 18-24 year olds.


Falling out of love with apps?

Our research shows that a quarter of people have used a dating app, despite many ending up meeting a partner in real life.

While digital dating used to be the 'go to' for singletons to find their perfect match, it seems romantics are now turning to the apps for a multitude of different reasons too. Amongst those aged 18-24 years old, more people use the apps out of boredom (67%) than out of a genuine desire to meet a partner (61%).


Region by region - How adults across the UK are falling out of love with digital matchmaking

When considering regional differences across the UK, singletons in Wales (68%) are most readily falling out of love with dating apps to meet their love match compared to less than half of daters in Yorkshire and the East of England where less than half of adults have ditched digital matchmaking (49%).

Over half of single people would rather ditch dating apps to meet that special someone in person

It's clear digital daters are keen to clear any stigma around the world of dating apps, with only 26% of people who met their partner online agreeing that you should aim to meet someone 'the old fashioned way'. Conversely, a staggering 60% of people who met their other half by chance or via real life channels felt that daters should aim to avoid the apps. The desire to meet someone in real life increases amongst 18-24 year olds too, with over half (57%) ditching dating apps in favour of pursuing a more traditional approach to finding love.

For those looking for a whirlwind romance with a new prospective partner, you may choose to keep swiping. That's because more than four in five (81%) adults relying on dating apps to find their partner won't keep you waiting before getting in touch after a date. They disagree with the outdated trend to wait a few days before messaging after a date compared to less than two thirds (63%) who initially met offline.

With 2024 bringing with it a leap year, we also asked romantics if they agreed with the tradition that women should propose on the 29th February. Just 12% agreed overall, with more men (14%) in favour of the grand gesture than women (10%).

Expecting to spend at least 3 months' salary on an engagement ring? Think again!

Our research shows it's not just pricey dating app subscriptions making Brits cost-conscious. The financial squeeze extends to expectations on the cost of engagement rings too.

A whopping 74% of people disagree with the traditionally held notion that you should spend at least 3 months' salary on an engagement ring. So whatever age you are, however you met your partner and whatever length of time you've been together, don't worry too much about splashing three months' salary on a ring for your partner.

It seems modern romantics are prioritising other experiences, perhaps saving for a wedding or budgeting for that honeymoon of a lifetime.


Getting engaged might not cost as much as you think...

Overall, the majority of Brits (30%) plan to get engaged between 1 and 3 years after first meeting their partner. But spouses-to-be needn't worry about breaking the bank on an engagement ring. 

That's because almost half of people expect an engagement ring to cost under £1,000. 

If you met in online, you might expect to spend a little more, though, with 24% expecting the ring to cost between £1,001 and £2,500 compared to just 16% of those who met their partner in real life.

Make the important things happen sooner

Whether you're getting ready to propose to the love of your life or you're planning the big day, you may wish to top up your funds to achieve your dreams. A Novuna Personal Finance loan could help.

Find out about our personal loans