A funeral in the 21st Century has less to do with faith and more to do with the personal preferences of the deceased and their loved ones. That is one of the key findings of the 2019 Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).
Americans are increasingly aware of and interested in personalization options, green burials and using a funeral home that’s familiar or has been used by a loved one before – with less of an emphasis on the religious elements that were once a cornerstone of the funeral ritual.
“Consumer needs and preferences drive and inform the services that funeral homes provide to grieving families,” NFDA President Chuck Bowman, NFDA. Significant findings in pointing to changing expectations and preferences include:
Location of cremated remains. Of those who prefer cremation, 48 percent of respondents would prefer their cremated remains be scattered in a sentimental place. This is a result of declining importance of religion (only 35 percent of respondents felt it important in the funeral of a loved one) as well as an increase in factors such as non-traditional funeral locations, services presided over by non-clergy and interest in celebrants.
Technology and social media. More than 55 percent of consumers have visited a funeral home’s website to look for an obituary, write an online condolence or look up contact information. Additionally, 77 percent of respondents use Facebook, and 16 percent of those that use it have visited a home’s Facebook page. Overall, the internet and social media have impacted grieving and memorialization, making it easier for people to give and receive support from a larger online network.
Green funerals. More than half (51.6 percent) of respondents would be interested in exploring “green” options because of potential environmental and cost-saving benefits.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice