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Brits want funeral to be celebration

Older Britons want their funeral to be a celebration of their life, says a study.

The survey, from research specialists Mintel, also found that the over-50s find it far easier to talk about funeral plans nowadays, and pointed to opportunities for funeral providers to expand their range of services. 

The report found that 68% of people over 50 like the idea of a celebratory send-off, a figure rising to 76% of women aged 50 to 64.

It revealed that almost two-thirds of the over-50s are happy to talk about their choice of funeral arrangements, with just 13% of those over 75 saying they find the subject awkward. However, one in five people do still consider the subject private and one they wouldn’t want to discuss. 

Fewer than 40% of the age group think a religious aspect is important for a funeral, and one in five says they don’t really mind what type of funeral they have. 

The survey also showed that the funeral market was resilient through the economic downturn despite the declining mortality rate. It estimates the funeral market in 2014 to be worth just over £2bn, up from £1.5bn in 2009, a total rise of 38.5%, or just under 7% per year. 

It records the average cost of a basic funeral in the UK today standing at £3,609. 

Ina Mitskavets, senior consumer and lifestyles analyst, said: “Traditionally the topic of death has been a taboo in Western societies. However, as the population of the UK continues to age rapidly, and there are more and more people who are confronted with the needs of their elderly parents and the prospect of their own mortality, death is becoming a more open topic of conversation.

"The fact that so many over-50s prefer their future funeral to be a celebration of life, rather than a more traditional ceremony illustrates that there are great opportunities for funeral providers to expand the range of their post-funeral services to help people celebrate their loved ones one last time.”

The study says 15% of the age group say they would like to personalise their funeral, with the same number interested in an eco-coffin. However, there does seem to be a limit to demand for innovation, as only 8% expressed interest in a green funeral and just 1% wanted to broadcast their funeral online.

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