It’s estimated that millennials will make up about 75% of the workforce by 2030, and many of these young people are working in the funeral industry already. In fact, this tech-savvy, hyper-connected generation could change the funeral profession forever.

Millennials tend to think differently than previous generations. They’re typically more flexible and less attached to tradition. They tend to resist doing things a certain way just because that’s the way it’s always been done. There’s a push for “death positivity,” with some millennial funeral directors looking for ways to let laypeople take a more active role in the processes that surround death.

Some of the newer ideas include encouraging people to witness cremation, giving people more opportunities to care for the body of a loved one, and promoting eco-friendly options.

It’s not just those within the profession who have the potential to change it. Millennial consumers are becoming influential even before they reach an age at which they themselves will need funeral services. They are typically close to their parents. They’re also less religious and traditional than previous generations, but place a high priority on connectedness and community.

We’ll likely see many changes over the next several years, including:

  • Advanced planning will become more of a priority. There are several reasons that preplanning appeals to millennials. This is a thrifty generation that takes time to think about major purchases and tends to shop around for things they need. They’re well informed enough to realize that planning ahead is a smart investment. They also want to do things their own way.
  • There will be more of an emphasis on giving back. Millennials tend to be benevolent, and they’re likely to plan funerals that reflect that sensibility. They’ll look for funeral homes that give back to the community. They’re more likely to choose charities to receive donations in lieu of flowers. They’ll also want choices such as eco-friendly seed packets as funeral favors, and cremation options that nourish a tree or help replenish a coral reef.
  • Funeral providers will need to incorporate more technology. Social media is an obvious example, but it’s not the only one. Millennials want to be able to comparison-shop online, which means funeral homes with content-rich websites that include pricing options will be more successful than those that are vague or less connected. Using technology such as memorial DVDs and live-streamed funerals are also important.
  • Personalization will be heavily focused. Millennials want to do things their own way, and funerals are no different. Look for the rise of DIY elements from homemade caskets to potluck receptions, and be prepared for this generation to expect unique customization options such as photo wreaths and personalized caskets.
  • The emphasis on eco-friendly options will continue to increase. The millennial generation is interested in options that previous generations may not even know exist. Did you know that water cremation is legal in 15 states? Did you know a person can be buried without a casket in a “suit” of mushrooms that turns the body into compost? These kinds of eco-conscious options are extremely appealing to millennials, most of whom are concerned with leaving a smaller footprint in both life and death.

No matter what your generation, preplanning helps ensure that your funeral is whatever you want it to be. At Greenwood, we’ve been helping people plan meaningful end-of-life services since 1907, and we continue to offer families in our community compassionate, professional care. Call us at 619.450.1479 to learn about all we have to offer.