New FAMIC Study Shows Americans Clearly Recognize the Importance and Value of Memorialization
Brookfield, Wis. - 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, according to nationwide study 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.”
Funerals Matter More Than Ever
A greater understanding of the value of funeral service and a stronger recognition of the role it plays in healing after loss was demonstrated in the 2010 results. 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 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.
Relationship with Funeral Home is Key
The 2010 Study results also demonstrate the importance of the relationship between the consumer and the funeral home itself. Funeral attendees are generally more comfortable shopping for caskets and other funeral-related items at a funeral home and they prefer privately held independent funeral homes over publicly held corporations. Further, where applicable, 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. The funeral industry attributes tested all had very high approval, and the highest approval was for the most personal types of services provided by funeral homes.
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. 55% of survey respondents indicated they were likely to choose cremation for a loved one where in 1991 that number was 31%. 94% of those most likely to choose cremation for a loved one indicated they planned to have some sort of funeral or memorial service to commemorate that life.
Use of Technology Rises With Young Americans, but Funeral Director Still Key
Perhaps unsurprisingly, younger funeral attendees were much more likely (51% to 32% for the general population) to find an obituary online. They were also more likely to have found a funeral home online and taken part in a “virtual memorialization” than their older counterparts. But when it comes to making arrangements, they rely on friends and relatives and others more familiar with the experience for guidance at much larger ratios.
Pre-planning Funerals Continues to Register with Consumers
The majority of respondents – 66% - indicate they would pre-arrange their own funeral. Those that have pre-arranged 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.
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.
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.
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.
 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
 These results are from the sample of Americans age 20-39 who have attended two or more funerals in the last year