PRESS RELEASE: Sombre services shift as Brits opt for celebratory send offs

New research shows a change in funeral trends

Our new research reveals a shift in funeral trends, as over nine tenths (92%) of UK adults no longer want a traditional funeral and another nine tenths (88%) want to plan their unique send-off themselves.¹

Over half (52%) of Brits said, if given the choice, they would opt out of a full funeral service. Instead, a third (30%) would want their loved ones to simply raise a glass to them. A fifth (22%) would rather their friends and family have a party and a tenth (11%) want a get-together in their local pub.

When asked what is most important when arranging a final goodbye, the study shows that over four fifths (84%) of Brits would rather have laughter than tears at their send-off. Over a quarter (27%) want their family and friends to arrive wearing colour.

The research also shows that ensuring the right people are present to celebrate their life is key, whilst traditional funeral choices such as flowers, coffins and vehicles are now less of an important consideration for Brits overall.

The shift away from the sombre send-off is evident with the increased demand for our new David Bowie-esque Cremation Without Ceremony offering. This option differs from a traditional funeral in the way that there are no mourners present at the cremation, so families and friends generally celebrate their loved one’s life at a venue of their choice.

Over half (56%) of those surveyed said a direct to cremation service is something they want for themselves, with a fifth (20%) saying they’ve already made this known to their families.

Business data from the Co-op shows that for many, the decision to have a direct cremation is not one driven by price. By not including a full traditional service, families are able to remember their loves ones in their own way or location of their choosing.

This holds true as the research highlights how important destinations for wakes are becoming. Local pubs remain the most popular choice for Brits, with 31% saying this is where they want theirs. Other more unique wake destinations include discos, festivals, gigs and beaches.

Top 10 locations Brits would like their wake:

• Local pub (31%)
• At the family home (22%)
• Favourite restaurant (12%)
• On a beach (10%)
• A disco to take place at a bar/nightclub (9%)
• In the garden (9%)
• At a football club (9%)
• At a festival/gig (7%)
• At a community hall (7%)
• Abroad (4%)

David Collingwood, Director of Funerals for Co-op Funeralcare, said: "It comes as no surprise that people are more open than ever to the idea of unique and personalised send offs. Cremation Without Ceremony was introduced as a response to market demand, with people wanting the chance to say goodbye to loved ones in their own, personal way outside of a traditional service.

"Although the traditional funeral is still a popular choice, we’re increasingly seeing people considering alternative options. This is exactly why we encourage people to talk more openly about their wishes and what they would like for themselves. To ensure they have the funeral they want and to remove some of the emotional burden for families further down the line."

Janet Street-Porter, journalist and broadcaster, commented: "It’s great to see that people are becoming more open to the idea of unique and alternative send-offs. Funerals should be completely tailored to the person who’s died, whether that means having a lavish, no expenses spared affair or having a direct cremation followed by a get together in the local pub.

"It’s so important that we become less nervous talking about death, it’s one of life’s inevitabilities and shouldn’t be shied away from. The more we talk about it, the less of a taboo it becomes."

Find out more about Cremation Without Ceremony.


¹Research carried out by Atomik, with over 2,000 people, in November 2018

For further information contact

Sarah Pyatt

Press Officer