People twice as likely to have found love through friends/family compared with dating apps
March 10th, 2023, Christien Pheby

People twice as likely to have found love through friends/family compared with dating apps

Internet dating – once (and occasionally still) a source of embarrassment – has become steadily more popular, to the point that global YouGov data shows that it’s now among the top three ways people met their current or most recent partner.

But our polling also shows that meeting a partner through friends/family is still the most common way to find that special someone. Overall, a quarter of consumers found their current or most recent partner via their nearest and dearest (24%), a figure that was relatively consistent among most regions; although in some markets, such as the UAE, this rises to two in five (38%).

In the regions we surveyed, finding a partner through work is also more common than using Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Hinge, or comparable apps and website, though in Europe the difference is relatively small, and in the Americas relatively large - there’s a seven-point difference between those who found love via the office (16%) and those who found love online there. On a global level, consumers were more than twice as likely to have found a partner via friends/family than via dating apps and websites (24% vs. 10%).

Even among the young – who make up a significant proportion of the target audience for online dating – apps and websites come second to friends and family. On a global level, the difference isn’t particularly huge: just 12% of 18-34s found their most recent partner online, next to 10% of the general population (this younger cohort is also, by 19% to 11%, more likely to have never had a partner at all). In markets such as APAC (17% vs. 9%) and the Americas (22% vs. 9%), younger people are still twice as likely to have found love through people they’re already close to compared with dating apps; in the UAE, this rises to three times (30% vs. 9%).

Danes and Swedes most likely to date digitally

If dating apps and websites are looking for possible growth areas, it’s first worth looking at where they’re already popular – and where they’re not – in more depth.

Overall, consumers in the Nordics are most likely to have used a dating app or website to find their most recent partner (15%), with Canadians (14%) and UK consumers (13% close behind.

On the other end of the scale, consumers in India (5%), Mexico (7%), the UAE (8%), Italy (8%), Indonesia (8%), and Hong Kong (8%) are less likely to have used the internet to find a partner. These markets could represent growth areas for companies in this space – if the obstacles that have prevented dating apps and sites from already making inroads can be overcome.


YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 500 and 2,000 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in 2022-2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced. 

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