The debate around physical appearance playing a pivotal role in dating and relationships has gained momentum in recent times, especially with the rise of online dating. Do Indian daters place emphasis on looks while picking a partner? According to a recent study done by the Indian dating app QuackQuack, 33 per cent Indian daters have disclosed that physical appearance indeed plays a crucial part in their dating experience.

The founder and CEO of the app, Ravi Mittal, commented, “We know how much appearance matters in the dating world. There is no denying that. But the aim is always to strike a healthy balance between looks and other more important traits that should factor in while finding a match; for instance, we constantly urge our users to also look into compatibility, personality, shared goals, values, and more if they want to find a relationship that goes beyond the surface level.”

The study was conducted targeting Tier 1, 2, and 3 app users. A total of 9000 people between the ages of 20 and 45 participated and were asked to answer questions on online dating preferences, while providing justification for the same. The results reflected the significance of physical appearance over every other preference.

Here are some key findings of the study: 

First Impressions

37 per cent daters between 18 and 30 say physical appearance is everything when it comes to first impressions. 26-year-old Vaishali said, “How would you know if a person will be truly compatible with you before interacting with them? In such moments the display image showing their physical appearance is one of the determining factors, apart from a small bio.” Other responses were on the same line, mentioning that especially in online dating, the visual appeal often forms the basis of first impressions. An important point to note is that this phenomenon is particularly pronounced among the younger age group than the older.

Self-Worth

More than 24 per cent of Tier 1, 2, and 3 daters disclosed that interacting with physically attractive matches helps make them feel more confident and improves their image of self-worth. Anurag, a software engineer from Delhi, said, “Whether it is right or wrong is up for debate, but for most people, it holds true. Securing a match with a good-looking individual, especially someone who is out of our league, feels like a bigger win compared to matching with someone who is at par with us.” Users also commented that a strong visual attraction also works as a catalyst for initiating conversation and putting in more effort to connect, at least in the initial phase.

Also Read: An expert’s guide to dating for introverts

Cultural Influence

3 out of 5 women over 30 noted that cultural expectations influence people`s preference for a physically attractive partner. Most people grow up noticing a significant emphasis being placed on physical appearance and that reflects in their dating preference. Not only do daters put more effort into looking good over exhibiting their achievements online, but the heavy cultural influence also pushes them to choose an attractive person over a talented one.

Success Rate

“While physical appearance is not everything, the more attracted you are to your match, the better your chances at a successful relationship,” justified Ajeet from Guwahati. Moreover, 29 per cent daters also mentioned that finding someone attractive is subjective. “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Tall, dark, and handsome might be my preference, but someone else might prefer other physical traits over these,” said Sadhna Singh, 22. Physical appearance matters, but it does not always come with an unrealistic beauty standard. Nevertheless, 7 out of 10 respondents answered the same- the success rate of a match increases if there is strong physical attraction.