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Research Reveals Consumer Desire for Graveside Services

image Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. (WFSI), the leading single-source supplier of burial vaults and cremation-related products and services to North American funeral homes, today announced results of a benchmark survey on consumer attitudes toward funerals. Findings show that when planning funerals, 78% of all consumers value the graveside service at the cemetery “as important as” or “more important than” the service conducted at the funeral home.

“The purpose of the research was two-fold. First, we wanted to build on the bank of consumer research Wilbert has conducted previously,” stated Wm. A. (Tony) Colson, WFSI president. “Secondly, we wanted to gather additional consumer insights for use in new product development work.”

“Many of the findings from the study are consistent with earlier Wilbert studies and with assumptions that are commonly made by people in funeral service,” Colson went on to say. “However, the consumer voice in this survey is loud and clear on one new point – they see value in the committal service at the cemetery. The ability to provide final closure to the death of a loved one is something that families obviously want to participate in at the cemetery.”

Additional highlights from the consumer research include:

* In rating the value of the funeral event, most consumers (78%) indicate they believe the purpose of the funeral is to celebrate the life that was lived.

* More than two thirds of consumers (68%) agree that funeral directors play an important role in planning a funeral and more than three fourths of consumers (78%) stated they used/would use the funeral director to help select funeral products.

* Over half (59%) of consumers are not aware that a burial vault is selected when making a funeral arrangement involving a burial and just under half (44%) are not aware of the purpose of the vault.

“Creation of new products should begin and end with consumer learning rather than focus on the opinions of corporate research-and-development teams,” Colson added. “Our marketing team is presently hard at work using these insights to create new marketing programs for our burial vault line and new products for our cremation business. It is our plan to launch several of these at the National Funeral Director Association’s convention in the fall.”

The research was conducted in the spring of 2009 with 400 consumers via an online survey. Just over half (201) of the respondents had made a funeral arrangement in the past while the balance had not. The majority of the respondents (54%) had either planned a funeral involving burial or would select burial for their funeral. The remainder had planned a service with cremation as the means of final interment or would choose cremation as their means of interment.

Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. is the leading single-source supplier of burial vaults and cremation-related products and services to North American funeral homes. From its offices in Broadview, the company licenses the right to manufacture burial vaults under the Wilbert trademark to a network of over 200 licensees and sub-licensees throughout North America.

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