Looking for love in the new year

Australian dating websites are preparing for a surge in activity as harassed singletons bow to familial pressure and hop online in a bid to find Mr or Ms Right.

The first week of January is the busiest time of the year for the nation's matchmaking sites, with some expecting a 50 per cent increase in new registrations and a spike in activity among existing clients.

One reason is the number of people making new year's resolutions to find a partner. But pressure from nagging relatives also plays a major role.

"Singles tend to use the Christmas period as a time to review and reflect and figure out exactly want they want in a relationship," cupid.com's communications manager Sean Wood said.

"There's also family pressure over this time for singles as they ward off irritating relationship questions from family and friends over the Christmas dinner table."

About one in 20 Australians have used online dating as a way to meet prospective partners, according to eHarmony managing director Jason Chuck.

"We see a slight slowdown in registrations during the Christmas period, followed by a huge spike immediately after the holidays," he said.

"This is likely due to single Australians putting 'finding love' at the top of their new year's resolutions."

EHarmony says its peak traffic will occur today, with about 14,000 "icebreakers" exchanged between members.

Another dating site, RSVP, said early January will be its busiest period.AAP

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