Thought about Planting a Tree For A Loved One? Treeternity is a Trusted Saskatoon Memorial forest and they offer an eco-friendly, modern way to celebrate an event, loved one, pet or family with a tree and plaque in a beautiful park. Treeternity, allows you to celebrate or remember an important person or aspect of your life in an environmentally positive way. In their latest tip they explain how millennials are affecting the funeral and death care industry.
Everywhere you turn, you’re liable to see another article about how millennials are killing industries. These articles might carry a healthy dose of generational skepticism, but they do have a point - the way millennials spend is quite different than how preceding generations did. CBS Insights attributes this behaviour to a confluence of different factors.
Two of the principal factors they looked at were economic differences between the generations and a greater desire to spend ethically.
Here, we examine how these two factors, as well as changing spiritually, might affect millennial spending in the death care industry. We’re using this analysis in an attempt to predict how millennials might spend money on their own funerals or the funerals of loved ones who are around the same age. This analysis is focused on North American millennials.
Millennials and Spirituality
Spirituality plays an important role in death care, so it’s important to think about how a decline in religiosity coupled with stable trends in spirituality might play out. One might conclude that certain practices that are seen as dogma won’t appeal as much to Millennials, but novel practices that suit their spiritual framework will. The Catholic practice of preferring burial and dissuading cremation may, for example, be less compelling when fewer Millennials are religious.
This isn’t to say we can expect burial to drop off entirely; the value of tradition is often misunderstood and understated. One can expect burials for preceding generations, even in funeral services arranged for by Millennials
. We may also see new traditions that merge the religious beliefs of older generations with the spirituality of Millennials.
Millennials and Economics
Understanding the economy and the role Millennials play in it is exceedingly difficult. Individual Millennials seem to earn less, but Millennial households often earn more - in large part because of the role women play in earning income. That said, as day to day costs continue to go up, Millennials are spending less; a trend we might be safe to assume is going to continue.
You can already see the impacts of less spending on the death care industry: more than 60% of Canadians are choosing cremation. The reason? For 40% of those choosing it, it’s because it’s less expensive than burial. This is yet another trend that leads us to believe cemeteries and burial will be less and less common as time goes on.
Millennials and Ethics
An astonishing 73% of Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
Defining sustainability isn’t simple, but we can conceptualize it as meeting the needs of the present without sacrificing the future. Environmental causes are intimately linked with sustainability. In many frameworks, humanitarian causes are too: Millennials will consider whether or not products are Fair Trade and cruelty-free in an effort to support sustainable development for people around the world. These considerations have important implications for death care.
Burial has a number of negative ecological impacts, stemming largely from the use of embalming fluids and other toxic chemicals. What’s more, as urban populations continue to swell, cemeteries are taking up valuable real estate - soon, Millennials may not even have a place to be buried. In light of this, many Millennials are turning to alternatives. That’s not to say cremation is going to be the only way to go - there are environmental problems with that, too, but again, we see a trend away from traditional burials.
Millennials and Experiences
Millennials, as you may have heard, spend more on experiences than things. As it turns out, this trend isn’t limited to Millennials; every generation is spending more on experiences and there’s good evidence that indicates that experiences make us happier than things. One might think of a funeral as an experience (albeit one full of very strong emotions), but we may be able to glean information about how this trend will shape funerals.
While funerals can be thought of like experiences, they are experiences that feature a lot of stuff, much of it very expensive. From caskets to flowers, you have to purchase a lot of things for a traditional funeral, and the trend of eschewing expensive products might mean Millennials will place less value on how nice their casket is. This leads us to predict, once again, that traditional burials will continue to decline; when you don’t feel the need for your own plot after you’ve passed away, cemeteries can seem like the product of a bygone era.
Millennials and Memorial Forests
Millennials, then, are looking for ethical experiences that don’t cost a lot and that are tied to their spirituality. This is exactly what a memorial forest provides. When a loved one passes, a tree grows in memory of them. The tree is in a forest with winding paths, memorializing many others; it’s a serene place where families can spend time together. This ties together cause of environmental justice and creates an experience of togetherness; all this, and we haven’t even started talking about the grand metaphors that can be drawn. The memorialization is far less expensive than a traditional burial, too. In other words, memorial forests appeal to Millennials on each of the points we’ve discussed here.
While predicting trends with 100% certainty isn’t possible, it’s safe to conclude that if traditional burials and cemeteries are on the decline, as we assume they are, we’ll see other traditions taking their place. Having literal family trees? That’s a tradition that could appeal to everyone. - Mia Hollinger , Founder - Treeternity.
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