The most popular fee-based apps in France were Badoo and Meetic, both with a 40 percent paying customer share in 2018. However, if French people truly are so romantic, are dating apps and sites really the main channel for them to find friendship or love (or lust)? Most had met their current partners at the workplace. Online dating and dating agencies were also playing in the same court as the place of study or parties. By combining online shopping habits and novel functionalities on dating apps such as AdopteUnMec, women have the possibility to not only shop for clothes or whatever they like, but they might also be able to find a man. With 16 thousand downloads, AdopteUnMec had lost 28 thousand subscribers since 2018. Nevertheless, the success of online dating can be seen in the 2020 leading social media apps ranking, where Badoo and Tinder are among the most used in 2020.
But who is looking for love (or sex) online? Of men, 56 percent of of those aged 23-25 mentioned having had an affective or romantic relationship with a person they had met online, compared to 68 percent of women. Even though other sexually inclusive apps such as Grindr, with 3.8 million daily global users, are present in France, they seem less represented in online rankings. This, however, does not mean that apps such as Tinder or Meetic do not have the same options as Grindr.
But why go online instead of going outside? In 2020, for 52 percent of French daters, creating that first contact and establishing a conversation online seems easier for the more timid. On the other hand, 40 percent expressed that it is much harder to find a serious relationship. Speaking of non-serious relationships, sending and receiving sexual content has seemingly become quite common, with 23 percent of the population having received such messages.
As some users have developed tactics to avoid being recognized, the fear of having such intimate content leaked is quite strong. There are other downsides of online dating: 29 percent of French men aged 25 to 34 had felt a dependence on dating apps and 77 percent of women had encountered at least one type of harassment on a dating site in 2018.
Online dating platforms were still seen as a popular way to combat loneliness, especially in times of social seclusion, a prime example being the coronavirus lockdown in 2020.