Thinking ‘Outside of the Box’: How Baby Boomers are challenging the Funeral Industry!

Cremation network

Baby Boomers – a generation that has effected change!

They are a generation that has been known for making their mark and choosing to do things differently, and there is no exception when it comes to death. The Funeral Industry has been eagerly anticipating the influx in what has been a declining death rate, when the generation fondly known as the ‘Baby Boomers’ come ‘of age’, and help to put a ‘boom’ back into the industry!

The Baby Boomer generation is estimated to account for 78 million Americans and represents just fewer than 30 percent of the population according to the US Census. Baby Boomers have resisted following traditions, and arranging their funeral is likely to be no different. This is a generation that has sought to ‘think outside the box’ and put their personalized mark on cultural artifacts.

Creative Alternatives – putting the ‘fun’ in funerals!

Life celebration

Where this generation is arranging funerals they are forging creative alternatives. Attend a funeral arranged by, or for, a Baby Boomer and certainly expect something a little different and non-traditional. What we have come to think of as the ‘traditional’ funeral could be completely eroded by the time this generation has departed.

Is the ‘Death Industry’ ready for this challenge? I think we have already witnessed some significant changes in recent years to an industry that had remained very traditional for hundreds of years. They are facing up to the challenge – some in the business are relishing the challenges and opportunities it presents. We have already witnessed several new and creative funeral alternatives. You can now opt to personalize a memorial service with non-traditional keepsakes and music – even choose to arrive at the funeral in a Harley Davidson hearse!

Cremation as a baby boomer trend!

Cremation is on the increase, and more and more creative options are emerging in how we can choose to disperse remains. When Walt Disney opted for cryogenic freezing, it seemed a bizarre and radical choice for an end-of-life option. Now we have a multitude of choices – most of which are available to the “man on the street”. You can now have your remains freeze-dried instead of cremated and choose to have your remains blasted into space, scattered at sea, turned into a piece of jewelry, made into a firework, scattered at mountain-top or coral reef. In fact, the possibilities are almost as limitless as the imagination…….and boy are the Baby Boomers relentless in how to apply a personal expression to the art of dying!

A generation of online shoppers & technology-users

Baby boomers are a tech-savvy lot – 3 out of 4 boomers between 50 and 64 years old use the Internet. Even more compelling is that for the first time in history more than half (53%) of American adults age 65 and older are going online.* The Internet has provided this generation with the means by which to explore the options available to them, and a number of niche markets have emerged in the ‘Death Care’ business. For many of these companies, the Internet has enabled what was once a traditionally localized business to operate on a much wider scale. The advent of the mobile and tablet market is further being embraced by baby boomers.

Companies offering funeral related services now reach customers on a State or even national scale. Although niche services may typically be premium priced, it appears our Baby Boomers can be a little more discerning about the materialism of the death process, and more concerned with making the passage from life to death a more personalized tribute.

HuffPost – A Digital Divide Grows Between Baby Boomers: Ira S Wolfe

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Sara is the Editor in Chief for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death care industry in the US for the last 15 years.