Business owners and managers have constant access to new information about trends in consumer demographics and preferences that have the potential to impact major decisions. One of the biggest challenges is simply prioritizing and sifting through the data to analyze what it could mean for your firm.
In addition to trends in funeral service such as disposition and memorialization preferences, it’s important to understand potential changes in key consumer characteristics that are most likely to affect your firm. Here are a few topics to monitor to help inform choices about facilities, service offerings, staffing, marketing strategy and more.
Numerous factors influence how the population of an area can change. A 2018 report by Pew Research Center indicates that urban and suburban counties continue to experience growth, while about half of rural counties have fewer residents than they did in 2000. Counties in the South and West currently lead the country in population growth.
Understanding and anticipating population shifts in your area can have a significant impact on your business decisions. Considerations such as personnel needs, acquisitions and service offerings can be informed in part by this information.
The demographic makeup of the U.S. population is also changing. The percentage of older adults has grown, and the youngest Baby Boomers will have turned 65 by 2030. In addition, the United States is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse.
Effectively serving today’s consumers requires funeral home owners and managers to understand their needs. Your firm’s services, staffing (including meeting the changing needs of today’s employees) and many other factors can be affected by changes in the demographics of your community.
Recent surveys show continued changes in Americans’ religious affiliations. In a 2019 study, 23% of respondents selected “No Religion” when asked to identify their religious affiliation.
The increasing population of “nones” could continue to affect the way funeral homes meet the memorialization needs of client families. Understanding how religious affiliations are changing may influence decisions about the services you provide.
Communication & Convenience
According to a 2018 report, nearly 90% of adults in the United States use the internet. Although the percentage of adults who report they use the internet or social media or own a smartphone or tablet has remained relatively flat in recent years compared to the impressive growth of the preceding years, the majority of adults use technology for many different purposes.
Understanding communication preferences and trends can help you make decisions about funeral home marketing, client communications and customer service. In addition to monitoring internet, social media and device usage trends, be aware of new tools and platforms that could help differentiate your firm. Many innovations are focused on making it faster and more convenient for consumers to interact with companies and obtain information to help guide their buying decisions.
How to Monitor Trends
The U.S. Census Bureau provides information about demographics on a national and regional level. The next U.S. Census will take place in 2020 but isn’t slated for public release until late 2021. In the meantime, the U.S. Census Bureau makes additional reports and study findings available on its website. The Bureau recently announced a new online platform for accessing data, which is scheduled to officially launch in July 2019.
Organizations like the Pew Research Center also report on numerous topics such as population trends, religious affiliation and social media usage. For specific information about the trends in your area, local market research can provide even more actionable insights. This type of research is also valuable for learning about specific perceptions and preferences related to memorialization and your funeral home brand.
You can learn more about the demographics, preferences and decision-making process for pre-need consumers in Homesteaders’ Pre-need Motivators report. The latest edition is now available as a free PDF download.
What other trends do you monitor to help inform your business decisions? Share your thoughts in the comments below.