Consumers Moving Past Tradition For Funerals, Survey Says

Funeral Industry News Funeral Industry Press Releases NFDA October 16, 2019

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Consumers Moving Past Tradition For Funerals, Survey Says

National Funeral Directors Association identifies cremation, personalization and green burial options as top preferences for consumers over traditional elements like religion.

Brookfield, Wis. – This year, one thing is certain: consumers’ preferences for funerals and memorialization are rapidly evolving. According to 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. This creates a unique opportunity for today’s funeral director to provide the kind of experience that more and more consumers have come to expect and even plan for as times and priorities change.

Thousands of funeral directors and funeral service professionals from around the globe will gather to learn how to meet these challenges as they flock to Chicago, October 27 through 30, for the 2019 NFDA International Convention & Expo. This annual event, the largest gathering of funeral directors in the world, enables attendees to take advantage of seminars, the world’s largest funeral expo, unique tours, social events and more.

“Consumer needs and preferences drive and inform the services that funeral homes provide to grieving families,” said Chuck Bowman, NFDA president. “I am looking forward to being with my colleagues at the NFDA Convention to discuss the common challenges we face and exchange ideas on how we can meet and even exceed families’ expectations to ensure they are able to memorialize their loved ones in meaningful ways.”

Specific, significant findings in the 2019 Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study pointing to changing expectations and preferences include:

  • Location of Cremated Remains: Of those who prefer cremation, 48% of respondents would prefer their cremated remains be scattered in a sentimental place. This is a result of declining importance of religion (only 35% of respondents felt it important in the funeral of a loved one) as well as an increase in factors like non-traditional funeral locations, services presided over by non-clergy and interest in celebrants.
  • Technology & Social Media: 55.6% 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% of respondents use Facebook and 16% of those that use it have visited a funeral 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: Over half (51.6%) of respondents would be interested in exploring “green” funeral options because of potential environmental and cost-saving benefits.

At the 2019 NFDA International Convention & Expo, funeral service professionals will learn to address these and other consumer trends to provide more holistic, modern services that help families grieve and heal in a healthy way.

The 2019 NFDA International Convention & Expo will be held from Sunday, October 27 through Wednesday, October 30 at McCormick Place (2301 S. King Dr.) in Chicago. To learn more about the world’s largest funeral service event, including a full list of programming and how to register, visit

About National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA):

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 funeral homes in the United States and 49 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please contact 800-228-6332 or visit