How Inflation Is Impacting Dating | Study

man upset by lack of money for dates

Key Takeaways:

  • 65% of respondents said that because of inflation, date night is no longer a priority.
  • 49% of Americans have stopped going on dates entirely to save money during inflation.
  • 44% of women and 56% of men report “lowering their standards” when it comes to the type of dates they go on now.

The Economy of Our Love Lives

Inflation is currently America’s top problem, and that’s saying something. While inflation’s current rate threatens to prevent people from staying fed, housed, and clothed, could it also be affecting our capacity to love and find partnership?

After speaking to more than 1,000 people across the country, we wanted to see how inflation is impacting people’s ability to engage in romance and go on dates. Are Americans doing less of that now that everything is more expensive? Keep reading to learn from people of different genders, generations, and relationship statuses how inflation has changed dating.

Dialing Back Dates

We first asked respondents to share how inflation has impacted their ability and motivation to go on dates. Then, we compared their answers by gender and relationship status.

how people have scaled back their dating habits due to inflation

Compared to last year, going on dates is now significantly less of a priority, according to 65% of our respondents. This sentiment was even more often the case among couples–more than half of them (55%) have stopped going on dates entirely to save money. A significant number of singles (41%) said they had done the same.

For those still wanting to date, standards have gone way down: 52% agree that in 2022, they lowered their dating standards. As attractive as “Netflix and chill” already was before this level of inflation, it’s now seeing a 34% increase in popularity as a viable date option. Male respondents demonstrated a higher propensity than women for lowering their date experience standards. Perhaps that’s because, even in these modern times, they’re expected to pay for a date more often in the first place.

Inflation’s Impact on Romance

The following data explores how inflation is affecting the frequency of dates among couples. We also looked at the emotional impacts of inflation on people in relationships.

how couples are feeling about high inflation

Going on dates was one of the top tips in 2021 for keeping romance alive in a relationship. But now that almost 40% of couples are going on fewer dates due to steep inflation, they might appreciate further advice this year. Although an overwhelming number of couples still agree that dates are a vital part of maintaining stability in a relationship, 46% said that their relationship now feels less romantic, and 35% said that they’re fighting with their partner more often because they’re going on fewer dates.

At least couples are becoming more conscientious about how they date: 77% have started supporting local restaurants instead of chains when they go out to eat. Our research also revealed that people are thinking outside the box to find creative ways to save money and have a good time together: We saw a 240% increase in Google searches for “fun cheap date night ideas” in the last year. Hopefully, the rise in demand for this type of experience will soon lead to more solutions in the dating market.

Dating While Single in This Economy

Turning our attention to respondents who identified as single or not having a romantic partner, we asked how dating frequency and expenses have changed since last year. We also asked about how these changes were affecting their mental health.

how inflation is impacting single people

The frequency of dates decreased even more for single people than for those in relationships: 41% of singles said they were going on fewer dates, reporting a 20% decrease in the number of dates per month since last year.

As a direct result of fewer dates, respondents said they were starting to feel lonelier. Loneliness can lead to mental and physical health problems and is something many Americans struggle with, especially after COVID and the subsequent lockdowns. Single baby boomers have been hit especially hard; more people of this generation have reported feeling lonely than anyone else who has been dating less to save money. Baby boomers may do well to try their hand at a game typically more popular among the younger generations: dating apps.

While people admitted to using dating apps less often than they used to, single people still spent significant money on the dates they scored there, despite inflation. Those who used The League, for instance, spent upwards of $250 a month on dates. But money doesn’t always buy happiness, and less dating is taking a toll on people’s mental health nonetheless: 21% of baby boomers, 29% of Gen X, 33% of millennials, and 26% of Gen Z agree that dating less is noticeably lowering their self-esteem.

Keeping Your Standards and Self-Esteem High During Inflation

Americans are struggling to spark romance or keep it alive against the oppressive backdrop of inflation. Respondents shared a decrease in dating standards and frequency, alongside an increase in loneliness and fights with partners. But we saw glimmers of hope for thriving in difficult times: Many are making their dollars count by supporting local restaurants and actively seeking out ideas for affordable romantic experiences on Google. Spending more wisely on dates and finding ways to keep relationships healthy when prices are high is easier when you know where to look. To see how to start saving for your next date, head to CouponFollow today.

Methodology

We surveyed 1,004 Americans ranging in age from 18 to 76 to explore how inflation has impacted their dating habits. Among them, 52% were Male, and 42% were Female (not totaling 100% due to rounding). The generational breakdown was 12% Gen Z, 58% millennials, 22% Gen X, and 7% baby boomers. As for the respondents' relationship status, 45% were single, 42% were married, and 13% were in a relationship. Respondents who were married or in a relationship were grouped as “couples.”

For short, open-ended questions, outliers were removed. Survey data has certain limitations related to self-reporting, including telescoping, exaggeration, and selective memory.

Note: Google Trends and keywordtool.io data were pulled on June 15, 2022.

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Fair Use Statement

Feeling motivated to revamp your romantic life? Other couples and singles across America could use some inspiration, too. Feel free to share this research, as long as your purposes are noncommercial and you link back to this page.

about the author

Marc Mezzacca
Marc Mezzacca is CEO of CouponFollow, a consumer savings engine that surfaces popular coupons. He has been in the coupon and deals industry for over a decade with a deep interest in evolving e-commerce technologies.