Why you should know about the ‘Super Bowl Sunday’ of online dating

If you were thinking about joining a dating site in the new year, you’re not alone. Far from it, in fact.

The first Sunday of the new year happens to be the busiest day of the year, according to several dating apps and websites. Dubbed “Dating Sunday” or “Singles Sunday,” the name traces back to 2016, when the post-ball-drop increase was noticed, and now it’s an unofficial holiday for those hoping to meet their match.

And there’s data to back up the hype. OkCupid revealed that they historically see a stunning 70% increase in user activity on Dating Sunday, while Tinder estimates that 10% of all swipes in the month of January occur on that date, adding that 44 million matches were made on the app in 2019 — just on Dating Sunday. Meanwhile, CNET reported that Coffee Meets Bagel saw a 47% spike in sign-ups on Dating Sunday compared with the previous 30 days in 2021.

In 2020, Match’s chief dating expert Rachel DeAlto even told Mashable that it was the “Super Bowl of dating apps.” Although I’d argue it’s not a Super Bowl unless nachos are involved.

Why is there such a noticeable increase on this one day of the year? Julie Spira, an online dating expert, told USA Today that it was due to a variety of factors that happen to coincide.

“You have people recovering from a breakup or who were down during the holidays, you have all those New Year’s resolutions, and you have the clock ticking down to Valentine’s Day,” she said. “It’s the first lonely holiday after the New Year.”

And there’s a logical explanation for why the “holiday” falls on Sunday as well. The day of the week is traditionally the day that sees the most activity on dating apps, since work occupies time during the week and Saturday is often spent on social activities.

Michael Kaye, global head of communications for OkCupid, told CNET that the activity increase on Sunday is “on a whole other level” after the start of a new year. “People start acting on their resolutions — to be healthier, more fiscally responsible, and to date more so they’re not single again during the holidays. So now is when you really want to dedicate time to your dating life.”

You might be wondering if there are any downsides to joining the Dating Sunday frenzy. Will there be more competition? Will you get lost in the shuffle? Will it be too overwhelming? But if you ask me, it’s always good to throw your hat in the ring when an opportunity comes. And with everyone feeling optimistic at the start of a new year, it might be just the extra push to set a new relationship down the right path.

But there are a few things you should think about before Dating Sunday hits. In the coming weeks, take a good look at your profile and make sure it’s in top-notch shape, so when people are swiping more in the new year, you’ll have your best foot forward. Make sure your photos are recent and flattering (and if you need some new ones, holidays and the surrounding parties are a great time to take a few news snaps! The best photos are of you solo to avoid the group guessing game, and steer clear of too many selfies). Likewise, give your bio an extra browse to be sure it’s engaging and full of message bait (nuggets that invite someone to message you with a question). If you’re having trouble, enlist a trusted friend (or dating coach) to give your profile a look to make sure it sounds like you.

When the holidays are over, people are going to have more time to dedicate to their dating lives — and Dating Sunday might just turn out to be the best holiday of them all.

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.