Dating app use was also down on April-May 2019, but using apps for chatting or texting increased from 89.9 per cent to 94.5 per cent of respondents, and for setting up virtual dates (up to 17.2 per cent from 2.6 per cent last year).
Study author Dr Jacqueline Coombe said dating app use declined significantly among women and among people aged 18-29. Single people were more likely to stay on them, more than 60 per cent continued to use dating apps in lockdown.
“Dating apps are often used to facilitate in-person sexual and romantic connections; for the participants in our study, the physical distancing enforced during lockdown perhaps drove usual users off the platform,” said Dr Coombe.
Co-author Professor Jane Hocking said one habit had remained stable: “Interestingly, rates of sexting or swapping intimate pictures did not significantly change between 2019 and lockdown,” she said.