Bumble For Friends Data Shows Importance of New Friendships, Including Those Made Online, to Combat Loneliness
In 2019, online dating officially became the most popular way for U.S. couples to meet, a Stanford study showed. Even before then, meeting via a dating site or app was losing its stigma; indeed, by the time of that study, an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll showed that 72% of Americans who use dating apps or sites reported having a positive view of online dating.
Now, it’s the act of making new friends online that’s experiencing a paradigm shift—with the youngest generation of U.S. adults, Gen Z, leading the charge in normalizing platonic relationships born on apps.
According to new research commissioned by Bumble’s friend-finding mode, Bumble For Friends*, 66% of Gen Z respondents report having met their friends online. This is nearly two times more than the national average, with 38% of survey respondents across age groups reporting the same thing.
There’s still a slight disconnect, though, between intention and reality. The study, carried out by market research firm Censuswide, found that while a majority (60%) of respondents want to find new friends, 52% have not made a friend in the last year.
Of the folks surveyed, millennials are seeking new friendships more than any other generation, but struggling to get out of platonic relationships that no longer serve them. Of millennial respondents, 73% want to find new friends, but nearly 1 in 2 (43%) respondents agree that they’re stuck in outdated friendships. The data suggests a reason for this: while a majority (65%) of respondents met their friends in college, 78% share that they’re a different person now that they’re out in the working world.
What is clear is the absolute necessity of friendships for emotional support. The survey found 63% of Gen Z and 72% of millennial respondents name their friends as the first people they talk to when they need advice, rather than mental health professionals or family members.
Respondents who’ve made friends via apps are also clear about the benefits of these new relationships. A majority (62%) of respondents shared that making new friends online has lessened their loneliness.
*This research was commissioned by Bumble and carried out online by Censuswide in February 2023. The survey was conducted amongst a sample of more than 1,000 US adults who have either attended college or are currently in college. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society, which is based on the ESOMAR principles.