online dating, eHarmony

This month’s Australian Open could tell us more about our love lives than we might think, with the eHarmony Dating Index revealing that Aussies’ interest around romance and dating increases around major sporting events and long weekends.

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The new research from leading online dating site eHarmony.com.au compared overall interest in dating against established measures and events like economic factors, key political moments, and popular culture phenomena such as Royal Fever to reveal the factors that impact Australians’ dating habits.

The eHarmony Dating Index measured interest in dating from 2012-2014 using Google search data for relevant terms like ‘online dating’ and ‘date venues’, social media mentions of phrases such as ‘date tonight’, and traffic to eHarmony.com.au, to plot daily interest in dating on a scale between 0 and 100. It found that the average daily score for Australia is 41.

Among the findings, the Index shows that yearly interest in love and dating starts to climb from the end of September and continues to surge around the AFL and NRL grand finals, as well as the October Labour Day long weekend, when the Dating Index increases by approximately seven points over the daily average score – suggesting that the warmer weather, combined with the extra time off work and national sporting excitement are the perfect boosters to dating activity.

This trend continues over the summer season, with heightened interest in love and dating over the Christmas and New Year break, Australia Day and towards the end of the Australian Open, with an average Dating Index increase of 27 per cent, from 41 to 52.

One standout date on the Dating Index was 29 September 2012 when the average daily score rose to 60 – the day of the AFL grand final, with the NRL grand final and October Labour Day public holiday taking place the succeeding days; a pattern not repeated in subsequent years.

eHarmony dating and relationship expert, Melanie Schilling, says the Australia Day holiday is the perfect opportunity for singles to make the most of the social opportunities the long weekend has to offer.

“Those looking to enter or re-enter the dating world should get out there, be vital, actively mingle and fully participate in all that the Aussie summer and sporting culture has to offer!”

One exception to the warm weather trend is Melbourne Cup, when the Index drops to an average score of 35, signifying Aussies are more interested in the ‘Race that Stops the Nation’ than they are in looking for love.

The research, also carried out in the UK, found the economy has the biggest impact on Britons’ dating habits, with interest in dating tending to rise or fall with UK economic growth. The UK index also heated up during the week of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement.

In Australia, however, the Dating Index shows little relationship between economic indicators or Royal fever and dating, even throughout the Royal visit to Australia. Instead, local dating patterns are seemingly more affected by seasonal factors, holidays and sporting events.

“This is not entirely surprising given our economy is more buoyant than the UK. Relatively speaking, Aussies still have a reasonable disposable income to invest in our dating pursuits, and as a sporting nation, we’re more inspired by Kyrgios and Hewitt than we are by Kate’s pregnancies,” Schilling said.

Despite the impact of sports on Australians’ dating habits, it seems the weather has the biggest bearing. Major sporting events during the colder months, including the 2014 Soccer World Cup, 2012 London Olympics, and year-on-year State of Origin matches is when Aussies show the least interest in dating, with the average Dating Index score dropping to 37.

Schilling continued:

“If 2015 follows the Dating Index trends we’ve seen from over the past three years then we’re heading into a really busy dating period. With the Australian Open and Australia Day long weekend in late January, we can expect to see Aussies going on more dates which makes it an exciting time for both singles and couples.”

To make the most of this period, Schilling suggests that singles take advantage of the social atmosphere and keep an eye out for potential matches.

“Treat each event as an opportunity to present the best version of yourself, go with an open mind and be prepared to mingle with people outside of your usual ‘type’. Call it a social experiment and see how many different people you can connect with during this peak social period. Collect some phone numbers so you can reap the benefits of your efforts during the quieter, coming months.”