Will Millennials change death care purchasing?

That age group in the United States termed “Millennials” was born from 1981 to 1994 which makes their ages today range from about 28 years of age to about 41 years of age.  According to one source there are about 72 million of that age group in the United States which represents about 22% of the population.

There are some that are arguing that this “Millennial” group of people has, or will, change death care.  According to this article from Arizona Big Media, death care information available on the internet coupled with the recent Covid-19 pandemic has turned this group into what some call the first generation of “Death Positive” Americans.

Part of this “Death Positive” moniker comes from the fact, that probably more so than any other generation, Millennials have became aware of their mortality at a younger age than other generations.  There are some that believe that Millennials, as a group, believe more universally in the education of death care choices and options, including alternative options,  as well as pre-planning.

As a matter of fact, one website, The Order of Good Death, promotes what it calls “death positivity” through alternative forms of death care.  Here’s what that website says of the “Death Positive” movement “People who are death positive believe that it is not morbid or taboo to speak openly about death. They see honest conversations about death & dying as the cornerstone of a healthy society.”

When you think of the fact from a 2017 survey, as mentioned in the Arizona Big Media article, that states that “only 21% of Americans have spoken to a loved one about their wishes”, this seems to be a good move.  However, when you think about some of the habits and characteristics of the Millennial group, death care consumer firms have to interpret those characteristics to form and offer products for what the group may be thinking. . . . and, the choices of the group may come faster than their own death care wishes because many Millennials are helping their parents make preneed and, at times, at need death care decisions.

So what are some of the Millennial characteristics?  According to this article from Kasasa, here are some of them:

  • Millennials have less brand loyalty than previous generations
  • Millennials have little patience for inefficient or poor service
  • Millennials place trust in brands with “Superior” product history — Think Apple here
  • Millennials prefer on-demand services

How do I see those preferences affecting death care in the future.  I think it is interesting that Millennials are seen with little brand loyalty, but want “Superior” brand history.  An Apple phone over an Android phone is a perfect example here. . .or an Apple watch is in the same category.

So, if you have a death care business with a great brand history, you seem to be in a great spot to be their provider.  Unless they perceive your service to be poor or inefficient.  In this realm I think of myself telling the family of an at need call at the hospital that they should come in tomorrow at 10 am for “arrangements”.  My guess is that is already, or will be, seen as totally inefficient by many Millennials who may ask, “Can we complete everything online tonight instead?”

Do you have that option ready for them?

Compare that to the Baby Boomer generation (Currently aged 58-76) who prefer to do their business transactions in person and you can see the divergence of preferences that may come forward in arrangement families with survivors in both camps.  Couple that thought with the idea that the differing groups also have differing thoughts on financial saving and spending and you can see the wide gaps that may be in familial death care choices and how the death care provider may have to navigate that chasm.

I think it all falls under “knowing your customer” and “be prepared”.  That may entail more service options through your funeral home, it may require more online interaction to be available with your client families, and it may entail more financial payment options to be available for your family.

Any way you look at it you want to be “business friendly” to those in the Millennial birth years because if you are not. . . they, according to Kasasa, have no qualms with looking for someone who is.

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