Looks still matter: More than half of Filipino adults care most about looks in finding potential romance, study reveals

PHILIPPINES – The expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” still holds true in the digital realm of modern romance. A recent study by Agile Data Solutions, through its survey arm Hustle PH, revealed that looks was the top priority of more than half of Filipino adults in considering a potential partner using online dating apps.

63% of men and 54% of women, ages 18 and above, reported that the first thing they check on a dating app profile is the photo, showing a significant role that visual presentation plays in capturing initial attention and generating interest.

The study also explored the aspects users tend to emphasize about themselves in their dating app profiles. Surprisingly, 44% of male users and 45% of female users stated that they put more effort in their profile photos as a primary element of self-presentation.

“Online dating follows rules of physical dating where initial attraction is always prompted by looks, then developed through meaningful conversations. The main difference is that connections are made faster without the barrier of physical distance and the burden of time consuming face to face meetings,” said Jason Gaguan, co-founder of Agile Data Solutions.

On the benefits of using dating apps, 50% of women, while 48% of men, highly value the ability to establish deep connections without the need for in-person meetings. Meanwhile, 37% of male respondents and 32% of female respondents expressed a keen interest in discovering shared interests and hobbies.

“There’s a universal desire among respondents to broaden their social connections through online dating apps, underscoring the role of online dating apps as facilitators of social exploration and the importance of shared connections and interests in forging meaningful relationships,” he said.

Interestingly, 58% of females and 73% of males have reported being in a relationship with someone they met through an online dating app.

Mismatched connections

Online dating users tend to be apprehensive despite the immense accessibility in connecting to strangers.

The survey revealed that 34% of females have experienced anxiety, stress, or fear when using online dating apps, primarily stemming from the concern of meeting strangers with ill intentions. On the other hand, a notable portion of 43% of female and 40% of male respondents expressed concerns about encountering posers. This emphasizes the significance of authenticity and trust in establishing meaningful connections through online platforms.

“After the initial attraction made through profile pictures, and early conversations, we see a similar trend of mistrust and anxiety similar to what we see in the early adoption stage of any digital platform like e-commerce, web news, vlogs and even online payments . Looking at the maturity pattern of these other platforms, the key is to establish a safe space for its users resulting from better security from fraud and higher user penetration” explained Gaguan.

Reclaiming space

Six out of 10 men and women consider online relationships and friendships to be equally meaningful as those formed in person.

“We see very similar trends for both female and male users, both in the dating app user journey and even on the aspired results, which in this case is a meaningful relationship” he said. “This shared goal between genders would continue to drive growth for dating platforms, increasing both trust, usage and category growth.”

Agile Data Solutions, through its cutting-edge data-gathering platform, Hustle PH, remains dedicated to exploring and analyzing cultural trends to help businesses and individuals make informed decisions.

To access the full research, please visit https://www.agiledatasolutions.tech/_files/ugd/f08a78_a32f1e633236468da522ae9aed0224e9.pdf