2017 - The Year of the Lifestyle App
What is the forecast for lifestyle apps in 2017?
2016 was the year we really saw dating and social lifestyle apps take over the world of virtual dating. However, as we enter into a new year, it has become more and more apparent that these ‘swipe right, swipe left’ apps are not filling the market that they firstly created, ‘to find love’. These apps took off with such gusto, because who has time to meet new people anymore? But as the novelty of being ‘liked’ purely based on our appearance seems to have worn off. What has been notably obvious from friends and personal experience, is that the dead-end self assurance method does not tend to lead to something particularly long-term. I’m not saying that the answer is to completely ditch apps altogether - the time consumed young professional may be growing a moral conscience but they aren’t ready to go it alone just yet.
Dating app giants are starting to slip, revealing a gap in the market for new lifestyle app ventures. I decided to see if there is a noticeable trend in what was out there as the year came to a close, and if my optimistic prediction of a less material 2017 is correct. After some research into the depths of the App Store I have come across VieLoco which appears to be marketing themselves as something a little more profound to the generic dating app. From the outset this app claims itself to facilitate connections between users in the field of either romance or friendship.
Firstly, there is no left or right swiping, instead you are instructed to swipe down ‘to their hearts’ or up ‘and away’, a slightly more endearing and less brutal version of precursors. Secondly, which is really what seems to differentiate this app, is that it asks users to input ‘passions’. The categories I come across include favourite destinations, artistic interests, cultural pastimes, sporting preferences, social habits and languages spoken. Once VieLoco matches me after filtering through all potential matches due to our shared interests, it offers a chance to live video chat – daunting but genius. Now even the façade of Facetuned selfies just won’t do.
So how do we know that a more substantial connection is something that people want? Founders Fiona Baroness De Von Van Steenwijk and Nora Lee Notzon explained their inspiration behind the app. Nora Lee said;
‘Obviously it’s interesting to look at, but you really know nothing about these people. I hear about these horrible dates, but what do you expect if you have nothing in common. You don’t know that they like art, to travel, or if they like wine… I was single at the time and I thought: If I’m going to go on an app, I want to know, for example, that they like red-meat, red wine, love to travel, speak a foreign language and love dogs!’
In their research, Fiona and Nora Lee found that the most successful people are more interesting in connecting with someone who can satisfy their desired intellectual make-up, lifestyle and leisure choices as opposed to looks alone.
2017 is therefore looking rather promising for users fed up of sweating over which order to feature their profile photos. VieLoco pushes itself as a ‘lifestyle app’, even promoting networking via their ‘Movers and Shakers’ app. So this is where the social app world is heading this year, and we can finally happily wave goodbye to hideous first dates undeniably terrible chat up lines.