Dating in 2020: Bumble’s NZ Country Head talks Kiwi love in Lockdown

It turns out that even through Lockdown and being confined to our bubbles, Kiwi women continued to swipe right (and left). Here, Lucille McCart, Bumble’s New Zealand Country Head gives us insight into how Kiwis have been modifying dating in 2020, and her tips for finding success on the Bumble app.

What’s really amazing is that women in New Zealand have made the first move on Bumble, over 8 million times. When you think about how many young women there are in New Zealand, that is a lot of people really taking matters into their own hands when it comes to dating.

That very impressive number comes from Lucille McCart, Bumble’s NZ Country Head, and highlights that even though Lockdown shut us all in doors, we were still out on the prowl in some way.

Back in March, dating completely changed. The end game of using a dating app previously was to go on a date and meet that person, and that’s how you got into your relationship. But when you’re in lockdown, you really can’t do that,” she says.

“Dating apps became really the only way to meet new people. We saw people were really eager to make new connections during a time where there wasn’t much else going on socially.”

Bumble was introduced to New Zealand a few years ago, and despite Tinder already having swiped its way into our hearts, Bumble found strong footing in the market thanks in large part to its rule of having women make the first move. 

“New Zealand is such a progressive market and an amazing audience,” says McCart. “So it makes sense in a market like it to have a product like Bumble. I think it was what people were looking for, because if you’re on Bumble, it shows that you have a more open minded approach to how gender plays out in relationships.”

McCart says New Zealand has a very progressive mindset when it comes to gender roles, and sees that communicated through how many Kiwis use Bumble for that exact reason.

“It’s really interesting when you think about how many women leaders there are in New Zealand. When it comes to the concept of making the first move, we don’t question whether we should do that at work or in our personal lives. So it’s really great to see women breaking the mould when it comes to how gender roles work in dating.”

Bumble itself was well suited for Lockdown, as a few months prior had introduced it’s own video chat option. In Australia’s Lockdowns, the Bumble team noticed an increased use of the video chat function by 76 percent. 

The video chat is really interesting, because you get such a better sense of someone or the video than you do in a text. It is an interesting stepping stone between messaging someone on a dating app and actually meeting them in person and going on a date,” says McCart. 

McCart says what is surprising about how Kiwi’s use the app, is the trepidation we feel when talking ourselves up enough for someone to be interested. 

We often see that online people can really lack competence when it comes to creating their profile and getting their personality to shine through. We have many different versions of ourselves, we have the Instagram version of us, we have the LinkedIn version, what does the Bumble version look like?”

McCart says apart from the typical advice of filling out your bio, having multiple clear photos and linking through your Spotify, the top advice she can give people looking to find success on the app is to start early by creating a foundation that someone can use to get to know you better. “Write a bio that is positive, and it's funny, and it talks about your life in a way that is going to spark conversation,” she says.

It’s about really communicating as much information about yourself as possible, so that you’re attracting the right kind of person, and that those people have a good enough idea of you to really start a conversation that’s going to be engaging.”