Business

Death care and the (near term) changes coming

We all know that over the long-term, such as the past 40 years between 1980 and now, change has occurred in the death care industry mainly by the advent of the almost universal acceptance of cremation.  Most funeral homes have been able to weather that storm by offering services for both types of choices in their establishment.

At Funeral Director Daily we believe that choices will continue to be the mantra of the public with their decisions on death care.  And, while almost all traditional funeral homes could offer both cremation and traditional earth burial, we wonder if all funeral homes will be able to offer the services that some say are coming or if traditional funeral homes need to be more “niche” in their approach to win consumers.

Axios, the online magazine for business and markets, published several short articles this weekend concerning this topic of funeral home changes, cremation rates, and online platforms.  Here is what we believe were some of the highlights of what they see as their cremation trends:

  • Cremation rates will go from 53% to 65% nationwide by 2028
  • Part of that increase will be driven by people “who are interested in creating new traditions”
  • “Areas with high affiliation to Christianity as well as lower income and lesser educated populations tend to prefer burials to cremations.”
  • “Cremation is more popular in areas of the country with more immigrants”
  • The highest states for percentages of the population cremated in 2028 are expected to be Nevada and Wyoming at 88% and 87% respectively
  • Mississippi is expected to be the state with the lowest percentage of the population cremated in 2028 at 36%. . . however 36% is a 44% increase over today’s rate of 25%, so traditional funeral homes in that state can expect to be greatly affected in revenue mix going forward.

The bottom line, Axios says, is that “the popularity of traditional, more expensive embalming, caskets and funerals is dying along with the silent generation and baby boomers.”

Another one of the articles talks about how the tech platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google will handle people’s accounts once they pass away.  According to the article, Facebook, “will memorialize a deceased user’s account – turning it into a remembrance page – at the request of family and friends.”

Here is an article from Axios on cremation trends.

Here is an article from Axios on “The New Art of Dying”

Here is an article from Axios on technology platforms and death.

RelatedHere is a news video and story from Las Vegas’ Fox5 News on the first alkaline hydrolysis installation in Nevada.  “Green cremation” or “Aquamation” as it is commonly referred to will now be available in the nation’s highest, by percentage, cremation state.

Funeral Director Daily take:  None of these trends surprise any of us in the death care world.  We have heard this and lived its coming for years.  However, as this type of article appears in the mainstream media more often, I believe we will see the exacerbation of the process simply because it seems more acceptable and the norm to the public now.

And, that goes for some of the other ideas from the Axios articles.  Ideas to the public that talk about green funerals, green or water cremation, and living wakes (where the visitation is called for while the expected deceased is still living so they can be a part of it and friends can say goodbye) may be upon us more often quicker than we thought.

Good business sense would say that all of us funeral homes have to be prepared when these types of requests are asked for.  Do we have protocol? Do we have pricing?  It just makes sense to be ready.

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