Finance

Bloomberg: Price War to hit UK Funeral Sector

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In an article published earlier today on Bloomberg.com that you can read here, it is reported that the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) of Great Britain report that “price increases over the past decade, particularly by larger chains, can’t be justified by higher costs or quality improvements”.  The CMA goes on to suggest a proposal for a major probe into the industry by a CMA panel.

Earlier this year, Dignity PLC, the largest player in the UK funeral market, reduced pricing of their funeral services that was aimed, according to the article, to fend off the threat of its biggest rival, Co-operative Funerals Ltd., as well as other new entrants into the death care market.

The article also points out that there is online comparison tools available but only 4% of the market make use of them.

Finally, the article mentions that the price reductions have came in funeral services whereas cremations have not yet had that price competition.

Funeral Director Daily take:  So, I guess what is the CMA looking for?  Dignity PLC has drastically reduced prices to ward off competitive threats.  Is that not what “market economics” is all about?  I guess it could be the CMA figures that Dignity PLC has monopolistic businesses in some areas, but I am not aware of that.

And, as for cremation pricing.  I’m pretty sure that we are going to see that go down in the UK with the advent of the company Pure Cremation and their ability to raise money from investors for a lower cost cremation services package.

It is interesting to me, however, that cremation pricing is mentioned as something that has not had price reductions.  In most major metropolitan areas of the United States, it is my opinion that is where the “price war” is. . . not necessarily on funeral services.

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