New Study Shows More Americans Finding Deep Value In The Funeral Service

November 30, 2010
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imageAccording to a recently released and significant funeral industry study, an overwhelming majority of Americans over the age of 40 who have attended funerals believe that funeral and memorial services are a valuable and important part of commemorating the life of a loved one[1].

The nationwide study was conducted by telephone in April by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC).

?This important survey demonstrates yet again that the funeral industry plays a key role in helping families through the grief that comes with the death of a loved one,? FAMIC President Kaye Starnes said, ?and the funeral director remains the most important partner in that process. Even with the changing dynamics faced by families today, the funeral director plays a central role at a critical time.?

Other survey findings include the following:

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1. Funerals matter more than ever

* 92% of those 40 and older said the funeral industry provides meaning and value to the arrangement process, an increase from 86% in 2004

* 95% said that the service was helpful in paying tribute to or commemorating the life of a loved one, a 6% increase from 2004

* 87% said that the service was an important part in helping them begin the healing process after the death of a loved one, a 9-point increase from 2004

2. Relationship with funeral home is key

* Funeral attendees prefer privately held independent funeral homes over publicly held corporations

* The majority of respondents would use the same funeral home in the future, and wouldn?t change anything about their own personal funeral home experience

3. Interest in cremation as means of disposition continues to rise

* Over a 20-year period, those who report being likely to choose cremation for a loved one has increased by more than 50 percent

* 94% of those most likely to choose cremation for a loved one indicated they planned to have some sort of funeral or memorial service

4. Use of technology rises with young Americans, but funeral director still key

* Younger funeral attendees[2] were much more likely (51% to 32% for the general population) to find an obituary online and to have taken part in a ?virtual memorialization? than their older counterparts

* When it comes to making arrangements, this group relies on friends and relatives and others more familiar with the experience for guidance at much larger ratios

5. Pre-planning funerals continues to register with consumers

* 66% of respondents indicate they would pre-arrange their own funeral and hose that have do so most often so that others do not have to worry, eliminating stress for their loved ones and easing the way after they are gone

The survey?s findings go hand-in-hand with the resources available from a new website offered by Selected Independent Funeral Homes, the nation?s oldest professional association of independent, locally-owned funeral homes, at www.SelectedFuneralHomes.org.

Designed with consumers in mind ? and their unique needs before, during and after the loss of a loved one ? the site offers information that will help them be better prepared to make important decisions in their time of need.

In addition to a search engine that allows users to locate a Selected member by name, city, state or zip code, the site offers helpful articles and research on topics such as:

* The importance of a funeral and how best to make arrangements that suit the family?s needs as well as those of the loved one

* Extensive bereavement support information to help in the grieving process

* Unique insight into many of the world?s religious and cultural funeral customs

* What consumers need to know about dealing with funeral homes, their rights under the law and choosing the right service provider for their needs

?What we have created is an invaluable resource for consumers that clearly responds to their perspectives about the funeral industry in general and funeral directors in particular based on the findings in the FAMIC study,? said John J. Horan of Horan & McConaty in Denver, Colo., 2011 President of Selected Independent Funeral Homes.

The website offers information to industry insiders as well, with sections specifically geared to Selected members and prospective members, respectively. While the site has been the result of a great deal of research and insight into consumer and member preference, it will be dynamic and evolve in the months to come.

?Our members understand the unique needs of the families they serve and we?re here to help inform and educate in an effort to respond to those needs,? said Horan.

For more information about Selected Independent Funeral Homes, visit the website at www.selectedfuneralhomes.org or call them at 1-800-323-4219.

For more information about the FAMIC report, visit the FAMIC website, www.famic.org, or call the FAMIC headquarters at 262-814-1544.

FAMIC Study Background

FAMIC first commissioned this major study of consumers? attitudes toward memorialization and ritualization in September 1990 to better understand the personal values which drive consumers? decision-making behavior as they pertain to funeral service; learn more about attitudes toward cremation and pre-planning; and study trends related to funeral and burial services. Subsequent studies were conducted in 1995, 1999, and 2004, making the FAMIC study one of the most comprehensive and long-standing consumer research projects in funeral service.

Methodology

This telephone survey was conducted March 29-April 11, 2010, by Harris Interactive. The survey was conducted among 500 adult Americans, 40 years in age and older, who have attended two or more funerals in the last year. Oversamples were conducted among

* 100 younger Americans, 20-39 years of age, who have attended two or more funerals in the last year,

* 100 African Americans, 40 years in age and older, who have attended two or more funerals in the last year,

* 100 Hispanics, 40 years in age and older, who have attended two or more funerals in the last year,

* 50 Asians, 40 years in age and older, who have attended two or more funerals in the last year.

About FAMIC

Since 1991, FAMIC has been committed to making available to the public direct and open information regarding death care and memorialization from the leading associations of service providers and businesses. FAMIC members include: Casket & Funeral Supply Association, Cremation Association of North America, Funeral Service Foundation, International Order of the Golden Rule, Monument Builders of North America, National Concrete Burial Vault Association, National Funeral Directors & Morticians Association, National Funeral Directors Association, and Selected Independent Funeral Homes.

About Selected Independent Funeral Homes

Founded in 1917 as National Selected Morticians, Selected Independent Funeral Homes (www.selectedfuneralhomes.org) is the world?s oldest and largest association of independently owned funeral homes.

Members of the association are expected to operate according to specific standards and best practices in order to provide the public with reliable, high-quality funeral services and funeral-related information.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Lisa Gunggoll, LG-PR

708.829.8669 mobile

lgunggoll@lg-pr.com

[1] The survey was conducted among two key groups, Americans age 40 and over who have attended two or more funerals in the last year and Americans age 20-39 who have attended two or more funerals in the last year. Among both groups, 95% said that funeral and memorial services are a valuable and important part of commemorating the life of a loved one

[2] These results are from the sample of Americans age 20-39 who have attended two or more funerals in the last year

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