Funerals Matter

In late Spring 2016, the NAFD, in partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care, commissioned a detailed study into consumer opinions about funerals and funeral directors from respected polling company YouGov.

The aim of the study was to find out from the general public, including those who have been bereaved, their views of the funeral profession, what they want from a funeral service, where they would go for bereavement support and developments/improvements that could be made.

The main poll was conducted among a representative sample of 2,070 GB adults (aged 18+) and a second, smaller, study spoke to 503 people with experience of organising a funeral in the past five years.

Key findings of the report:

Price is less important than reputation and chemistry when it comes to choosing a funeral director

  • Cost is the seventh most important consideration (28%) when planning a funeral behind:
    • following the wishes of a loved one (65%)
    • making it a celebration (56%)
    • making it personal (43%)
    • making sure everyone who wants to be there can attend (40%)
    • keeping it simple (38%), and
    • giving them a proper send-off (32%).
  • Over half of GB adults (55%) say they would choose a funeral director based on reputation and 43% would choose based on a recommendation or if they were the choice of the person who’d died.
  • Less was spent on funerals in the past five years than the average GB adult expects to spend (£3,601 average spend on a funeral in the last five years, compared to £4,746 anticipated cost)
  • 80% of adults surveyed, who had organised a funeral in the last five years, said they had received good value for money.

The British public likes and respects the funeral profession

  • 95% of people who organised a funeral in the past five years said they were satisfied/very satisfied with the service they received from their funeral director.
  • 8% of all GB adults said they are more likely to organise a funeral themselves rather than ask a funeral director to do it for them. However, 94% of adults surveyed who had previous experience of arranging a funeral said they are more likely to turn to a funeral director again in the future.

Britons rate funeral directors as professional, caring, helping and responsive – whether they’ve worked closely with them or not.

  • The most popular qualities that GB adults would use to describe a funeral director are:
    1. Professional
    2. Caring
    3. Helpful, Respectful, Expensive and Sympathetic,
    4. Compassionate
    5. Sombre and Understanding
  • Those surveyed who had organised a funeral in the past years said funeral directors were professional (83%), Responsive to needs (71%), Caring (63%) and a good listener (52%)

The profession has challenges to address to help it continue to support bereaved people well

  • One in seven (14%) Britons say nothing would prompt them to think about their own funeral.
  • Just over 1 in 8 Britons (12%) felt they would have no way of paying the costs of an unexpected funeral, compared to almost three-quarters (71%) who would either use savings, put it on a credit card or use another bank finance facility such as a loan.
  • 63% of Britons expect to be able to check or compare prices before selecting a funeral director