We know dating experiences can vary for all of us, but what about generational dating differences and similarities? Do Millennial daters use apps differently than Baby Boomers? And what about dating etiquette? Does Gen Z adhere to a different set of norms and standards than others?
To help us determine how each generation approaches dating, we analyzed over 5.7 million profiles and surveyed more than 4,000 daters. We also teamed up with one of the UK’s leading dating experts, Hayley Quinn, who interviewed singles on the streets of London to see if our data held up in the real world.
Check out her video below for some highlights as well as our summary of some of the biggest and most notable generational dating differences and similarities!
Generational Dating Differences and Similarities in Dating: The 15 Biggest Takeaways
1. Gen Zers are the least picky online daters
Gen Z daters swipe or say yes to 33% of people they’re shown on dating apps. That’s 15% more than Millennials, and 20% more than Generation X and Baby Boomers.
2. Gen Z daters appreciate it when a woman initiates, more so than the older generations
While the majority of daters (59%) are okay with either the man or the woman making the first move online, 16% of Gen Zers are more open to the idea of a woman making the first move. This is 2% more than Millennials, 8% more than Generation X, and 7% more than Baby Boomers.
3. Younger generations prefer more time to plan a date
38% of Generation Z daters want a week’s notice for a date. This is closely followed by Millennials at 30%. Older generations seem to need less prep time, with 28% of Gen X daters and just 25% of Baby Boomers saying that a week’s notice is important.
4. Millennials are the most meticulous online daters
51% of Millennials fill out their online dating profiles as much as possible. This is 3% more than Generation Z, 9% more than Generation X, and 17% more than Baby Boomers.
5. Drink dates are more popular with Millennials than the other generations
While coffee dates are still the most popular choice with Millennials, drink dates come in a close second at 35%, 8% more than Gen Z and Baby Boomers, and 3% more than Gen X.
6. Conversation skills are most important for Millennials
36% of Millennials think having great conversation skills is the best way to make a good first impression. This is closely followed by Gen Z daters, just 1% more, but is 6% more than Gen X, and 10% more than Baby Boomers.
7. Gen X daters have the deepest convos
Generation X daters were found to have the deepest conversations online (i.e. go back and forth in conversation the most). Millennials came in second here, followed closely by Gen Z.
8. Paying the bill on a first date still splits opinion
Gen X daters are split when it comes to who should pay on the first date. 47% of respondents thought a man should pay while 46% said the check should be split 50-50. This is 5% more than Baby Boomers and Millennials, and 9% more than Generation Z.
9. Baby Boomers are the conversation sparkers when dating online
After matching, Baby Boomers were found to initiate the most conversations (whether that’s sending a smile or a message). Generation X was second, followed closely by Gen Z, with Millennials found to be the least likely of the generations to initiate conversation.
10. Older generations say more
The average length of a first message was found to be 17 words for Baby Boomers. This is 6 more words than Generation X, 9 more than Millennials, and 11 more than Generation Z.
11. Baby Boomers like cutting to the chase more so than the younger generations
While 32% of Baby Boomers think chatting 2–3 days before asking someone out online is a good idea, 23% think it’s okay to ask someone out within the first few messages. This is compared to just 13% of Gen X daters who thought this was okay and 12% of Millennials and Gen Zers.
12. Older generations prefer calling over texting when setting up a date
The majority of Baby Boomers (60%) like to call to arrange a date. This is 13% more than Generation X, 25% more than Millennials, and 26% more than Generation Z.
13. Coffee dates are popular across the board
While younger daters are more open to the idea of dinner dates (and even ice cream dates), coffee dates are the preferred date of choice among all of the surveyed generations.
14. Holding doors open is considered a romantic gesture
Over 80% of daters across all generations think holding the door open for your date is a romantic gesture!
15. One-night stands aren’t considered deal-breakers
Even though Baby Boomers are less likely to date someone after a one night stand, the majority of daters across all generations would still do it.
We Are All Unique Daters!
It’s safe to say that when it comes to online dating, we’re all pretty unique. And, while there are a lot of generational dating differences and similarities, the younger generations tend to match more online and are more open to women making the first move.
Younger generations also typically prefer to build up a connection before meeting in person, while their older counterparts like to initiate conversations and organize dates faster. Baby Boomers and Gen X daters are also a little more traditional with their dating approach, highlighted by their preference to call to arrange dates, hold doors open, and enjoy a classic coffee date!
Whatever your preferences are, there’s no perfect way when it comes to dating. We’re all unique and that’s what makes meeting new people and making connections so interesting! Do what’s right for you, practice good dating habits, and you’ll really get the most out of your love life!