Every first day of the new year, thousands of Americans set goals and resolutions to accomplish for the next 12 months. Gyms become overcrowded, social media platforms are filled with reflection posts, and dating apps are buzzing with action. With Valentine’s Day only a month away and the new year as the perfect time to start fresh, the first Sunday in January has fortuitously become the busiest day for online dating.
According to 2019 data provided by Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB), more than a million messages were sent on January 6, making it the most active day in the app’s seven-year history. The data also found that the following Sunday was the second most active chat day, with just a 3% decrease in messages sent. Additionally, the entire month of January saw a huge spike in activity.
Just how huge was the spike during the first Sunday of January 2019? Coffee Meets Bagel reports a 61% increase in new user signups, a 16% increase in activity or number of sessions, a 22% increase in matches, and a 23% increase in chats, compared to the past 30 days. Dawoon Kang, founder and CEO of the dating app, refers to the phenomenon as Dating Sunday.
“Dating Sunday is a mixture of New Year’s resolutions and winding down the weekend,” Kang tells me. She believes singles are most active because they just returned from spending the holidays with family and have had time to reflect on their dating life for the new year. She also mentions that dating apps see the highest activity level on Sundays in general because people are not distracted by work or weekend plans, but instead have more downtime. On Dating Sunday last year, Coffee Meets Bagel users were chattiest between midnight and 1am (local time).
Kang recommends prepping for Dating Sunday, as you would any other holiday, by enhancing and updating your profile. “Photos are the most important part of a profile, and 80% of users pass if they don’t like what they see,” Kang says. “The first photo is the most important, and it should be clear, and of your face.” She also notes the importance of writing something in your bio. “The top 10% most liked profiles on CMB wrote 35% more than the average user. We’ve also seen more success with users who pick one topic and go in depth with the description rather than say something general like I like hiking.”
According to Kang, Dating Sunday’s spike in activity usually lasts until Valentine’s Day and then drops back to its normal speed. However, Valentine’s Day is the most popular day for new signups on the app, suggesting that some singles who may not have made dating a priority for the New Year start seeking love out of FOMO.
This cultural shift in dating suggests that singles all over the United States are, consciously or unconsciously, setting finding love as a new year resolution, alongside the more popular goals of saving money, exercising more, and eating healthy. Other dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Match have also reported that the first Sunday in January is their most popular day for chats and activity. With unofficial seasons and holidays like cuffing season and Dating Sunday/Single Sunday becoming a social norm, the future of dating could soon be reserved on your calendar.