Face-to-Face or Facebook?

May 23, 2013

AVG’s latest global survey reveals the extent to which women are using technology to take control of their personal relationships. The survey, which was performed by Qualtrics®, used an  online

AVG’s latest global survey reveals the extent to which women are using technology to take control of their personal relationships.

The survey, which was performed by Qualtrics®, used an  online panel of 4000 women in six countries across the world in April 2013.

Some have dubbed these new findings, rather unkindly, as the Digital Dumping Syndrome, or as more evidence that women’s hearts’ are hardening as they reach for their mobile phone to cancel a date or tell their partner that their relationship has hit the rocks and can’t be rescued. 

What’s interesting is that while the general perception may be that women are considered to be more emotionally sensitive than men and ergo more likely to discuss relationship issues face-to-face.   Contrary to that general perception, AVG’s survey, which questioned women in the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany and Brazil, found that this may no longer be the case. And based on what the survey suggests, technology is actually playing a bigger part in personal relationships and how women manage them.

On the onset of a relationship, we found that more than a third of women use social media to research a date in advance. At the end of a relationship, when it comes to splitting up, more than half of the women surveyed said they either had already broken off a relationship using their phone or were comfortable delivering  the news that way.

Feeling Sociable?

While it is not surprising that women are relying on social media to research potential suitors, it is surprising that according to the panel, almost 35 per cent use social media to check out dates ahead of time.

The flip side is that for men looking for love shaping up your digital profile clearly matters and this is so for a broader age range than one might think.

The proportion of 18-24 year-old women using social media to research a date is 44 per cent, but this falls by just over 10% to exactly a third of 45-54 year-olds, who said they’d do the same.

Digging deeper into the survey data reveals that US women are the most prolific users of social media to screen suitors, with almost half (47 per cent) researching a date online before going out with them.

Across all surveyed countries and age ranges, women were most interested in a potential partner’s Facebook® photos, followed by any shared Facebook friends, and then their profile and comments.

Interestingly, while more than 16 per cent of US women would also inspect a date’s Twitter® history, only 3 per cent of French women would do so.

And if the women surveyed didn’t like what they saw? Well, a roughly a third (35%) of women have cancelled a date based on what they said they found online. Brazilian women appear to be the most ready to pre-empt a dating disaster with a 61 per cent of respondents saying  they have cancelled a date  up front due to what they found doing social research.

Digital Heartbreakers

As mentioned at the start, women aren’t just using technology to check out their dates, they are also using it to end relationships when they’re ready to move on.

Globally, more than half (53 per cent) of those surveyed have either already called time on a relationship via the phone (25 per cent) or said they would do so (28 per cent).

The “you’re outta here” phone call is most popular among 18-34 year-olds (61 per cent), but a still-substantial 45 per cent of 45-54 year-old respondents would also use the phone to break upa relationship with US women the most likely to dump their partner over the phone (62 per cent).

Perhaps more shocking is the proportion of women prepared to digitally dump their partner. We found that over a quarter of women surveyed either have already ended a relationship via a text message (15 per cent) or say they would do so (13 per cent). The combined figures for breaking up via email were 23 per cent, followed by Facebook at 14 per cent.

Young women aged 18-24 are the most likely demographic to use an SMS to initiate a split (38 per cent), with fewer, but still nearly a fifth, prepared to turn to Facebook to do the deed (19 per cent).

The French are less likely to use Facebook to do the deed with only 12 per cent of them being prepared to end a relationship using Facebook, however more than half (53 per cent) would be happy to give you the hook over the  phone.

Sex vs. Tech   

French women appear from our panel results would seem to  be more conservative when it comes to  digital snooping , with only 18 per cent of them saying they would look at messages on their partner’s smartphone or tablet, and just 16 per cent would allow their partner to look at their own messages.

The hot-hearted Amazonian women of Brazil are the most prolific snoopers of all surveyed nationalities, with 54 per cent of them admitting to reading messages on their partner’s devices and 53 per cent of their partners reciprocating.

Our digital dating lives

What’s clear is that technology is playing a more significant role in today’s relationships, and that women are using social media and mobile innovations to better manage their love lives and  to embolden their decision-making.

It’s not all bad news for men though…clearly the message from the panel is that getting your digital profile in shape is nearly as important as getting your body in shape, and it’s probably an easier task than the hours spent at the gym working on that six-pack.

For all information on AVG’s latest survey go to


May 23, 2013