The 7 Types of Funeral Consumers
June 02, 2023
How well do you know your families?
You may have noticed families have changed. More people are being cremated. People want fewer religious elements at their services. And more. All of this leaves you wondering how you can serve them better.
To help funeral professionals better understand the families they were serving, two companies (Directors Investment Group and McKee Wallwork + Co.) joined forces in 2021 to conduct one of the largest funeral consumer studies in the nation.
They interviewed thousands of everyday people from ages 35-69 to ask them about all parts of funeral service (and their personal lives).
Questions ranged from:
How likely are you to prearrange a funeral?
Do you have tattoos?
How active are you in social media?
And hundreds more. But every question had a purpose. A role to play.
The answers to these questions helped the two companies notice patterns around funeral trends, which led to 5 key findings of the study. But that wasn’t all.
They noticed that families themselves had changed also. Compared to a consumer study conducted 10 years prior, families had different behaviors. Preferences. Expectations.
As a result, families were categorized into 7 groups (or segments), which look very different than the 6 consumer segments of the previous decade. These 7 types of funeral consumers have different lifestyles, attitudes, and perceptions about funerals.
To connect with families, you need to understand what they need from you and what their preferences are because every family is different. Let’s take a look at the 7 consumer segments that were revealed as a result of this recent consumer study.
The 7 types of funeral consumers
Type 1: Resolute Rookies
Most likely to try to do everything themselves - even when it comes to funerals.
Named after their unwavering attitudes, Resolute Rookies have a do-it-yourself approach to life…and funerals. They are a younger demographic and tend to have the least exposure to funerals. As a result, they are less likely than other segments to see the value of funerals. They’re also the least religious of all the segments.
Resolute Rookies are steadfast in their beliefs, money-conscious, eco-friendly, and social. Compared to other segments, they have more of a negative perception of the funeral profession and are less trusting of the profession than other segments. They’re the most comfortable planning arrangements online than in person with you.
Type 2: Great Expectations
Most likely to choose a funeral home solely based on reputation.
Great expectations fall in the middle age bracket (45-54) and have high expectations for life and funerals. They have expensive tastes, despite having a lower income than average. They’re sticklers for good service, whether it be at a hotel, restaurant, or funeral home.
This consumer group is very pro-funeral and understands the importance of funerals and the grieving process. They’re also more likely than average to want an in-ground burial. This group cares about service, quality, and value above everything else. Traditional funeral elements and the highest quality services are important to them, but they always want the cheapest options as well.
Type 3: Distanced & Decided
Most likely to be driven by their head rather than their heart.
The name of this group speaks for itself: the Distanced & Decided keep death, community, and even family at a distance. This group skews older (55-69) and has the highest income of all seven segments. They have a high preference for cremation and a low preference for funerals. They’re not interested in seeing the deceased at all, whether in a casket or during the cremation process. But 33% expressed they’d preplan for their own funerals.
Distanced & Decided are less traditional than other segments, are concerned about the environment, and have a more negative perception of the funeral profession and death in general. Despite having the highest income and education of all the segments, they are still money conscious.
Type 4: Free Spirits
Most likely to have given a lot of thought to their own funeral.
Free Spirits have more of an open mind about funerals than the other segments, but they don’t want anything too traditional or too religious. They are more likely than average to identify as Atheist, and as a
result, less likely to want religious elements at funerals. They’re the most likely segment to have discussed his/her own funeral, or at least thought about final wishes.
This group prefers cremation to burial. Over 40% of this group are comfortable with planning online and said they would prearrange their funeral. Free Spirits are likely to have given a lot of thought about their own
funerals and mortality in general. They’re the least likely to have taboos around funerals and are more open-minded than the other segments.
Type #5: Faith and Family
Most likely to know a funeral home or mortuary they trust.
This segment stands out for being the most religious group, the most family-oriented, and the most likely to value funeral traditions. In fact, over half want their funeral to have religious elements present because this group has the most people who identify as Christians. They’re also likely to live near family and keep in touch with parents and siblings. Though their income is far below the national average of $71,760, they prefer an in-ground burial with a casket purchased from a funeral home.
Overall, Faith & Family hold religious beliefs, relationships with family, and funeral homes in high regard. Also, they’re more likely than other segments to prearrange their funerals. The Faith and Family segment understands the importance of tradition and says it’s important to have a physical place to visit the deceased.
Type #6: Hometowners
Most likely to own a truck, fishing rod, and a gun.
Hometowners fit their name because they have a strong sense of pride for their hometown. They place value on religion and are almost as family oriented as Faith & Family. Buying behaviors indicate they’re more likely to buy local and support family-owned or independently owned businesses, including funeral homes. In fact, they likely already have a go-to funeral home.
Hometowners are similar to Faith & Family in that they’re likely to know a funeral home they trust (after researching its reputation) and have a preference for in-ground burial. Over half have planned a funeral before, and most of this segment believe funerals should be customized. Based on the data, Hometowners have a lot of pride in where they live, and most believe funerals are beneficial.
Type #7: Future Funerals
Most likely to say a good funeral is marked by the level of laughter.
Future Funerals are the smallest of the newly identified segments and skew younger (35-44). But unlike Resolute Rookies, this group has an openness to funerals, including religious elements and other traditions. This segment also thinks funerals are for the living, so they’re more open to serving alcohol and having laughter present at a gathering.
Future Funerals are comfortable researching and planning a funeral online. This group is social and technologically savvy, and they bring that mindset to funerals. And even though they’re the younger segment, they see the need for mortuaries and funeral homes and know the roles they play to help the living grieve and move on.
We're here to help you connect with these families.
Request a demo of Passare, and we'll show you how you can use technology to better meet the needs of these families.