New year, new love
A growing number of kiwis are looking for love as part of their New Year's resolutions, according to figures from dating website FindSomeone.
More than 264,000 messages were exchanged on the Trade Me-owned online dating site during the past week.
Head of FindSomeone Rick Davies said this equated to 60 per cent more messages than during the same period last year.
"The lead-in to New Year is always the busiest time of the cyber-dating year."
Davies said he expected to see a "huge spike" in the amount of members and messages sent on January 1.
"It all comes down to loneliness really, which is what drives people's search to find someone special."
That loneliness was more profound during the holidays when friends and family were spending time with loved ones, Davies said.
Sending a festive note to a love interest also went through the roof this year with 29,898 messages exchanged on Christmas Day, 92 per cent more than Christmas Day in 2012.
While the holiday period was always a busy time, member and message numbers during off-peak times were also up this year, he said.
The site's member and message volumes were at record levels.
"Here in New Zealand, we've seen member numbers increase in almost every nook and cranny of the country," Davies said.
All regions except West Coast had an increase in membership during 2013.
Growth was strongest outside the major metropolitan centres as smaller towns caught up with the trend, Davies said.
Singles in Marlborough were leading the charge with a 29 per cent surge in members during the year, while Timaru/Oamaru and Waikato both ticked up 23 per cent.
Auckland remained the "engine room" of online dating, with the most members and most messages sent this year.
Davies said cyber-dating had "marched into the mainstream".
"The stigma surrounding online dating has been well and truly demolished around the world and New Zealand's no exception."
The Pew Research Centre figures showed 42 per cent of American adults know someone using online dating, up from 31 per cent in 2005.
Davies said FindSomeone was targeted at singles looking for long-term relationships.
While it was difficult to find New Zealand data on the relatively new phenomenon of online dating anecdotal evidence and research out of the US showed online dating had a better long-term success rate than traditional dating methods, he said.
"You're finding someone who better matches you."
Most kiwi singles were looking for a non-smoking, casual drinker with no kids, according to FindSomeone's aggregated figures.
Davies said the number-one criteria for both men and women in a prospective partner was for them to be a non-smoker, followed by their potential love interest not having any kids.
The average age of a FindSomeone member was 40, with growth in the 20-35-year-old demographic.
And there were slightly more men than women using the site.
Davies said he had used online dating in the past but had deleted his profile as he was now engaged to someone he met through work, which was one of the most common ways kiwis met their partners.
Top 5 most desirable traits:
2. Casual drinker
3. No kids
4. NZ European
2. No kids
3. Casual drinker
4. NZ European
5. Blonde hair