Tinder Year in Swipe 2020 reveals 10 essential trends in SEA

2020 might have felt like a dumpster fire, but Tinder members didn’t write it off.  In an unprecedented year, when faced with new obstacles, Tinder members adapted and got creative about how they connected. In fact, as of Match Group’s Q3 earnings report, messages and use of the Swipe feature in Tinder are up double-digits from the end of February.


While IRL was on pause, members took to Tinder to share 2020’s biggest cultural moments. Tinder bios were a way for members to show who they are and what they care about, and profiles have never been more creative, dynamic or revealing than they were in 2020. 


Looking at a year’s worth of Tinder bios, here are the 10 most essential trends that happened on Tinder in 2020:


  1. Pandemic icebreakers took over Tinder. Merriam Webster’s word of the year ‘pandemic’ drove Gen Z in SEA to Tinder as they looked for ‘pandemic-safe’ ways to connect. Mentions of ‘quarantine & chill’ took off in March, as lockdown woes inspired creative one-liners which read like: If the Covid-19 can't take you out.... Would you let me? or A quaranteen in your area. From the College of Zoom. Class of Covid-19.


  1. Tinder was the place to share a collective at 2020. Whilst ‘pandemic’ may take the top spot as the word WOTY, the was crowned as the most-used emoji on Tinder in 2020. Members showed uncertainty and ambivalence about the future, expressing their outlooks as such: The world might end soon, just swipe right on me maybe


  1. Masks became a socialising must-have.  Members were ready to mask up and meet up, with mask mentions going from March onwards in 2020 across SEA (14x in Indonesia, 6x in Singapore, 114x in Thailand and 207x in Vietnam, vs 2019).
  2. Hand sanitisers, toilet paper and instant noodles - supplies were the new barometer for making like-minded friends. Mentions of ‘’ / ‘Hand Sanitisers’ started appearing in March at the height of lockdowns across SEA. Some members flexed their smarts with puns such as One ply...two ply...three ply....waiting for that re-ply whilst others took to Tinder to low-key search for supplies (and like-minded folks of course) with declarations such as BONUS POINTS  if you have toilet paper and hand sanitiser or  Bank account: $0; Kitchen: 300 instant noodles; Medical cabinet: 50 masks, 20 hand sanitizers. HMU.


  1. Animal Crossing islands and Zoom calls helped us hang out even from 1m apart
    Virtual hangouts peaked in March as mentions of ‘Zoom’ dates and ‘Animal Crossing’ debuted in members bios. Mentions of the latter went up by 9x in Vietnam, 6x in Thailand, 5x in Singapore and 4x in Indonesia in April, a month after its debut.  Gen Zs in SEA really got their game on and were looking for fellow islanders to hang/vibe/trade with. In fact, you wouldn’t be surprised to find a couple of bios in SEA that look like this: I don’t need a ONS, all I need are Animal Crossing Friends.


  1. TikTok x Tinder were a perfect match. TikToks on Tinder became a way to look for a partner in rhyme and rhythm or to pick up a new skill such as dancing to ‘Say So’ or take on the #WAPchallenge. TikTok mentions grew across SEA as seen in Indonesia by 21x, 15x in Vietnam, 14x in Thailand and 8x in Singapore. Members across SEA were saying things like, I’m looking for someone other than my parents to team up with for TikTok challenges. Sorry rents, no offence.


  1. Support for Black Lives Matter became a must for many matches. Starting in June, Tinder quickly filled with bios that said things like: If you don’t support BLM, we aren’t gonna work   started showing up prominently in members bios in 2020. Mentions of BLM grew 5x in Vietnam and SIngapore and by 2x in Indonesia from July onwards.


  1. New normal. New #Fitspo me and you? It was interesting to see how members found a new love for sport and fitness in spite of the pandemic taking over their lives and in itself, became an icebreaker. Indonesian Gen Zs for example saw ‘cycling’ mentioned 2x vs 2019 and expressed that they want to do it together with their matches. ‘Hike’ mentions in Thailand also increased 2x vs 2019 as members looked to connect with each other over this outdoor activity.


  1. Matching for good. Despite being a year some have called to cancel, humanity continued to shine through. During the central Vietnam floods, members filled their bios with compassion Pray for Vietnam , whilst  Gen Z members in Thailand took to Tinder for calls to break out of the PM2.5 cycle with mentions of saving the earth/planet going up 2x vs 2019. Gen Zs in SEA are ready to Talk politics or any social issues, and we’ll take it from there .


  1. Even in the ‘new normal’, some things never change - SEA remains a region of foodies From Thailand, where It’s a date if you bring the crispy air-fried pork, I’ll bring the beer to Singapore where desperate Gen Z expressed their loss of “Bubble Tea” / “BBT” (peaking right at the height of the nation’s circuit breaker when shops serving the well-loved drink were closed. We LOVE our food - nuff said.


Methodology: All data above comes from Tinder profiles in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Data was pulled from Jan - Nov 15 for both 2019 and 2020. Items cited in each list are in no particular order.