Online dating is now standard practice, especially for younger people. According to survey data from Pew Research Center, 53% of people under 30 reported using a dating site or an app, compared to just 20% of those between 50 and 64 years of age. Matchmaking through an app is now a necessary complement to many people’s dating strategy, one that allows them to pair with likeminded people while also leaving open the chances for “meet cute” situations offline.
Along with the ongoing move towards online dating usage and acceptance, there are some broader dating trends for 2023 into the next year:
- Setting boundaries through “guardrailing.” This new term describes people setting boundaries with friends and potential romantic partners at the onset of a relationship. It means putting in some effort on the front end to avoid potential problems later on and setting the tone for a mutually respectful partnership.
- Another term for 2023 is “infla-dating” which reflects the high cost of inflation, and couples taking steps to save money while dating. Couples are spending less due to the economic climate, and instead look for creative cost-efficient options instead of expensive dinners. Data from “Forbes Advisor” supports this trend, with the outlet noting 60% of its 2,000 survey respondents saying inflation has impacted their ability to pay for dates. Nearly 80% of Gen Z respondents said this was true, reflecting the steep impacts costs have on the younger generations.
- The work-life balance came into sharper focus during and post-Covid as people reassessed the time they spent working against maintaining or finding relationships, spending time with family, or engaging in hobbies. More people are reviewing dating from a similar lens, as they consider a potential partner’s work situation and
For Arab singles, dating can prove challenging due to cultural traditions and expectations. Leila Muhaizen, born and raised in Lebanon, and now based in Los Angeles, founded Baklava, a dating app that helps find companions while respecting the culture. The Arab community is now following the path of other groups and embracing online dating as a positive development where people of similar backgrounds can find other motivated and interesting singles. The app is designed as an inclusive space for Arabs, whether they live in their home country or around the world.
Baklava is a filter-less app that does not allow matches to filter others based on religion, ethnicity, or other similar criteria with the intent of providing users with an open platform to meet people from varied backgrounds. However, it does give users various tools to embrace their culture, such as settings to allow them to list their preferred language, dialect, and religion. It also includes various cultural cues, puns, and embraces playful stereotypes that resonate with the typical user.
The Latest Dating Preferences
Muhaizen and her team at Baklava recently conducted a user survey that uncovered some interesting insights into the dating preferences of the diverse Arab group. She uses this data to ensure Baklava is attuned to the needs of its user base while respecting its particular cultural norms and expectations.
“It is so important for us at Baklava to check in on our members and discuss with them their thoughts and feelings on the current state of swiping,” said Muhaizen. “These results also resonate with all singles in general, and right now family compatibility is something top-of-mind for online daters, especially as we approach ‘Cuffing Season,’ and gatherings will be plenty.”
- The “Who Pays?” Debate: The survey found approximately 50% of the respondents thought men should cover debate expenses, while the other half of respondents felt sharing costs made more sense, given modern financial independence and the current economic situation.
- Parental Opinions Matter: More than 80% of respondents said a tumultuous relationship with a partner’s parents would affect their long-term relationship and generational prospects. They also said that introducing parents to a potential partner is best done at an average of six months into the relationship, reflecting the family-centric culture and the need to transparently share intentions. The other 20% of polled users felt their partner’s support and engagement could help overcome any parental and familial obstacles they might face together.
- Generous spirits: Survey respondents said they would consider spending up to $200 on a single date, reflecting the culture’s generosity and hospitality.
- Clean breaks with ex partners. The overwhelming majority of polled users noted they do not need to maintain friendships with ex-partners. They deem it an unnecessary step that can block them from engaging with a new partner and prevent them from having a fresh outlook on dating and life.
“Baklava members are great at setting their intentions up front from the time they are creating their dating profiles,” said Muhaizen. “I think it’s crucial to manage your expectations, without compromising what you need and deserve – it will ultimately lead to more curated connections. The results of this survey are very much aligned with Arab cultural values, and I believe they show that our members take online dating on baklava more seriously than on other apps.”
The Baklava Success Story
Within the first six months of its launch, Baklava recouped all the expenses incurred during the app’s development, and since that time realized a twenty-fold increase in revenue. This success produced a growing user base of more than 250,000 active members accumulated during just two and a half years of operation. Baklava offers an inclusive dating community, one with a more balanced gender distribution than many other dating firms. Baklava notes 55% female to male ratios among its user base, providing even opportunities for users to find quality matches and enjoy dating. There is also a “Besties” feature within the app designed to connect Arabs with other local Arabs for friendship opportunities.
The company’s beginnings include $500,000 of bootstrapped investments, reflecting the founding team’s commitment and belief in the project’s feasibility. The app holds a unique market position by embracing its Arab-focused identify, supporting cultural connections and tradition, and highlighting its status as the premier Arab dating app. To prevent copycats from taking the company’s expansion or marketing ideas, the Baklava team keeps a closed lid on upcoming developments and news.
The 250,000-strong user base drives considerable engagement, with more than 10 million in-app conversations that include more than 100 million messages. More than 100 couples have provided Baklava’s team with their heartwarming relationship and marriage stories, representing just a fraction of the relationships made possible through the app. The app’s success at driving engagement and meaningful conversations encourages people to find a suitable match and take the time to get to know someone on a deeper level.
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