Life deserves a second chance, more so when it comes to marriage and trying to meet the demand of those keen on walking down the altar again are matrimonial websites which offer specialised services.
There are a growing number of people keen on tying the knot again but this time with better judgement, prudence, discretion and a lot of help from matrimonial portals.
"We are seeing a growing demand of people who are looking for a spouse the second time over. We have one to two second marriages happening through our site every week", says Vivek Pahwa, CEO, Secondshaadi.com, which claims to have around 1.5 lakh members and sees a monthly addition between 5,000 to 10,000.
"There is a growing openness about second marriages" says Gourav Rakshit, Business Head, Shaadi.com, which has 10 per cent of its business coming from the second marriage market and sees a monthly addition of 10,000 registrations.
With the divorce rate increasing in the country and the fact that much of these divorcees were young (28-32), there had been a favourable tilt towards second marriages, says Murugavel Janakiraman Founder & CEO - Consim Info Pvt Ltd (Bharat Matrimony), which has registrations of 45,000 divorcees.
"Divorcees believe there is a worthy married life even after one bitter experience. Society also no longer views divorce as taboo", says Murugavel.
It is not just young divorcees who want wedding bells to ring again. There are also many who believe in 'better late than never' philosophy. According to Rakshit, their site receives profiles of those 35 plus never married, but who are open to the idea of tying the knot to a divorcee.
Widows and widowers looking for companionship also form part of the demand market. A small chunk also comprises the elderly 50 plus category. "We recently had a case of 76-year-old tying knot with a 63-year-old woman", says Rakshit.
The portals say that Internet has become a preferred choice in terms of second marriages as they offer more options in terms of matching criteria. Also they ensure privacy and ability to communicate regularly, which helped couples understand their compatibility ratio.
Though the second marriage market appears more skewed to men, there is also a sizeable chunk of women. The ratio is roughly around 60-70 per cent of males vis a vis around 30-40 women. "But this is more to do with better Internet accessibility than other reasons", says Rakshit, a perception that is also echoed by other players in the second marriage space.
Among its NRI clients where Internet penetration was equal, "we have around 52-53 per cent females registered with us", he says.
Increased financial independence and education level has a lot to do with women looking out for a successful second innings in marriage. Though much of those registered are self users, there has been an increasing number of friends, siblings and even parents chipping in. "We have 25 per cent of registration happening through these", says Rakshit.
The family now understands that divorce is not the end and are supportive, adds Murugavel.
The second marriage phenomenon is no longer restricted to being just a big-metro phenomenon and is slowly expanding to Tier II cities and very slowly to Tier III cities as well.
"We have registration from over 500 cities in India alone. However, top five -- Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad -- account for about 40 per cent," says Murugavel.
The traditional parameters of searching for "fair, good looking slim bride" and "rich handsome" bachelors are not strictly applicable in the second marriage market.
"There is flexibility", says Murugavel. "While there is more relaxation in terms of education, income etc.-family background appears more important. There is also the issue of emotional component. They are extra careful to avoid any mistake that they may have done in their first marriage and also discuss the compatibility level more", he adds.
Those opting for second marriages cut across economic strata and communities and educational background.
Though religion is a criteria for many, caste fell more into the preferred category, but not essential. More important were matching values and compatibility ratio.
Sensing a good business potential in the second marriage market, the portals have begun dedicated services catering to this section. Some like Shaadi.com have come up with specialised services like ensuring a detailed screening of candidates and verification of documents, says Rakshit.
Though most of the portals accept that end verification lay with the registered client, the initial process of matching preferences, educational backgrounds, age, community preferences, income backgrounds are taken care of by the portals and options are offered accordingly.
"We provide the platform and suggest matches, criteria and get them in touch which prospective candidates. Then the clients take over", says Vivek.
It could be anywhere from three to six months for an alliance to end up into tying a knot. "We offer various models as per requirement. While the retail model offers personal meetings, the other models offer online meetings and verifications", he said.
Though there is no clear data on the success rate of second marriages through websites, the current players are optimistic that the market is set to grow.
Vivek says for players to survive, privacy and ensuring value-adds as per demand are important.
-Finanacial Express / Yahoo News