Kiwis looking for love online


A record number of Kiwis are looking for love - or at least a date for New Year's Eve - on Trade Me's dating website FindSomeone.

Members have sent more than 240,000 messages and smile emoticons over the past week - up 67 per cent on the same period last year.

The number of new members has also soared, up 38 per cent on a year ago.

Manager Rick Davies said it was the busiest the site had been since it was founded in 2001, and dating fever was set to continue.

"With lonely hearts in a frantic search for a date for New Year, these levels are likely to keep ramping up in the lead-in to Monday night."

Mr Davies said the social awkwardness of being an online dater was a thing of the past.

"We've seen an incredible rise in online dating in New Zealand in 2012 - it has been a record-breaking year for activity and demonstrates the old school social taboo around meeting someone online is well and truly out the door.

"Not only is internet dating a normal and acceptable way for couples to meet, but it works too. A recent American study found that online dating was the second most common way to find a partner, behind meeting someone via a mutual friendship."

Mr Davies said growth in use of the site had been strongest in the South Island this year, with Otago leading the way, but Auckland remained the "engine room" of the online dating scene.

"Auckland has the most members, and it's also the most ethnically diverse region for online dating in New Zealand. For example, you're three times more likely to find a date of Asian descent in Auckland than you are in Canterbury or Wellington."

On FindSomeone, the typical male online dater is aged 38, of NZ European descent, weighs 83kg, is 1.79m tall and holds some form of tertiary qualification. Twenty per cent of male daters have children.

A typical female dater is 39, of NZ European descent, weighs 64kg, is 1.66m tall, and also holds a university qualification. Thirty-one per cent have at least one child.

Mr Davies said the availability of mobile technology was a significant driver of dating activity. "Checking out member profiles while on the go is part and parcel of online dating for Kiwis now, with a massive 29 per cent of visits to FindSomeone over the past month coming via mobile devices, up from 15 per cent a year ago.

"With more smartphones and tablets in hands and pockets, there's no doubt there will be lots of dates teed up from baches and campsites this summer."

FindSomeone also has a 'Who's near me' feature to help locate other singles nearby and use leapt nine per cent in December.

"It's just a nice, simple way for Kiwi singles to get in touch and meet up for a drink or a game of beach cricket."

 

- Northern Advocate

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