The Top LATAM Dating Apps You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
If you’re single and searching for a date then chances are you’ll be paying extra attention to your phone the next few days. More than 200 million of us worldwide are using digital dating services every month, and Valentine’s Day provides that extra incentive to get swiping.
The dating app scene continues to expand and evolve rapidly. App Annie’s State of Mobile 2020 report found that consumers spent $2.2bn on dating apps in 2019, double the amount of two years prior. Contrary to conventional (boomer?) wisdom, it’s not just about casual encounters: another recent study showed that nearly 40% of heterosexual couples and 60% of same-sex couples that got together in the US in 2017 first met online. It’s not surprising, then, that ‘Tinder weddings’ are becoming a thing (and a hashtag).
Tinder is still the undisputed leader of the genre, but users are now spoiled for swiping options with the likes of Bumble, Hinge, Grindr, Badoo, and Happn all hugely popular. There’s also a newer generation of dating apps thinning out the dating field by targeting specific demographics – over 50s, the Jewish community or transgender people – or niche interests. Grazer connects vegans, while Hater aims to find you someone that shares your pet peeves. Have a thing for facial hair? Bristlr promises to “connect those with beards to those who want to stroke beards”.
Latin American developers are also getting in on the game, and with good reason. The likes of Tinder and Badoo have attracted millions of LATAM users who, according to a recent Liftoff report, are at least three times more likely to make in-app purchases or subscribe to a dating app than people in any other region.
While global dating stalwarts like Match and Cupid have a strong presence around the region, here are some of the home-grown competitors you may not be so familiar with.
“Stop Swiping. Start Poppin.” So goes the slogan of this Brazilian-developed app, where users can ‘pop’ the profile bubbles that catch their eye. But the real innovation from Poppin is asking users about their favorite activities and then using Facebook to connect people who have confirmed attendance at the same event. This way, if you’re talking to someone, you’ve probably already got the first real-life date set up for you. The app claims to have 600,000 users and made over 2 million matches since its launch in 2016.
BlindLove likes to think of itself as the slow and meaningful alternative to Tinder’s fickle swiping. The focus is on forming an emotional connection with your matches; photos are initially blurred and only gradually become clear as you interact more with each other. The app then also provides users with suggested activities or events to make arranging a first date easier. Argentine developer Federico Volinsky says he wanted to push back against the ‘dehumanizing’ elements of dating apps that rely too much on physical attraction. After launching in 2018, BlindLove is expanding primarily in Argentina, Mexico, and the US.
GPS Gay (Uruguay)
This one is not strictly a dating app, but it is one of the most important online LGBTI communities in Latin America. GPS Gay was created in 2013 by two Uruguayan entrepreneurs, Magdalena Rodríguez y Rosario Monteverde, who wanted an LGBTI-friendly platform that went far beyond the ‘hook up’ culture of other dating apps. Users can chat and connect via geolocation but also share articles, cultural guides and film recommendations with the wider community. It won the Best Audience Award at the 2015 Mobile Premier Awards in Barcelona, and continues to expand in Latin America and beyond.
Looking to date fellow goths? Or is athleisure your favorite look? Styler is one of those dating apps focused on a particular interest - in this case, fashion. Users can pick from 10 main ‘styler tribes’ and connect with others that share a similar sartorial aesthetic. You can also search for people based on their preferred brands and designers, though other filters for location and age are also available. Styler launched in Mexico in 2018 and is seeking to expand into fashion capitals around the world.
Layk is another recently-launched LATAM dating app, this time made in Colombia, that promises more meaningful matches for those tired of Tinder. The app distinguishes itself with its more stringent admission process: users can connect through their verified LinkedIn account and their profile is reviewed before being accepted. It is expanding across cities in Latin America and Spain, offering recommendations for first date activities in each. It also organizes ‘premium and innovative’ events for members to meet and mingle in real life.
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