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More choice could pay off

A survey commissioned by Colourful Coffins suggests that funeral directors may not be giving older people as much choice as the younger generation when it comes to choosing a coffin for a loved one.
The company said its YouGov Omnibus survey of more than 2,100 18 to 70-year-olds showed a quarter of those over 70 would opt for cardboard if choosing a personalised picture coffin for a loved one, and just 8% of people aged 18 to 24 would do the same.

This ratio however, was in stark contrast tot he options the differing age groups had been offered.

Around 87% of over 70s respondents said funeral directors had offered a traditional ‘plain’ wooden coffin, with only 1% given the choice of a personalised cardboard coffin and 5% a plain cardboard coffin.

Nearly half of the 18-24-year-olds said that, if choosing a personalised coffin, they would opt for wood, with just 36% of over 70s saying the same thing.

Mary Tomes, managing director of Colourful Coffins, says the figures suggest funeral directors could benefit from being more flexible in the products and could consider targeting different age groups with different ranges.

“As the baby boomers hit their 60s and 70s, they are breaking traditional barriers by demanding more choice and they are much more open to new ideas than perhaps the industry currently gives them credit for,” she said.

“We hope these results will be useful in helping funeral directors to broaden their offering for all generations and for families to be able to be given the wide range of choice that it seems they really do want.”

Nearly one in five 25 to 39-year-olds who had organised a funeral said funeral directors gave them the choice of a personalised or plain wicker coffin (19%) and 11% were offered plain or personalised cardboard. 

Only 63% of this age group said they were offered a traditional wooden coffin.

Older people aged 70+ are more likely than younger ones to choose a religious service, but less likely to opt for a formal, sombre occasion with mourners wearing dark clothes. They are also less likely to worry about funeral costs. 

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