We are in the period of public companies reporting their 3rd Quarter results to the world and it is only a couple of weeks before Hillenbrand, parent company of Batesville Casket Company, and Matthews International, parent company of Aurora Casket Company will give us those results.
As most of you know, those businesses have generally continued to remain profitable even in the face of downward unit sales over the past several years as cremation has cut into the number of people using caskets. However, with the COVID-19 deaths we believe that unit sales, like last quarter for Batesville and Aurora, may continue to move up — interrupting that downward trend — at least for the time being. It was not reported in public documents how much the Aurora gain was last quarter but Batesville reported a 7% increase after many quarters of 1-3% decreases in sales.
Recently I came across this article that I’m guessing you will enjoy reading. It is from TheHustle.com, a site that deals with trends and business start-ups. The article, which was actually written in December 2019, is entitled “Can the American casket monopoly be disrupted?”
I really enjoyed reading the article and I learned quite a bit from it. Here’s some of what I learned from the article:
- Batesville and Aurora reportedly captivate 82% of the American casket market
- That 82% number makes casket company monopolization one of the highest concentrated industries in America
- The history of growth for the Batesville Casket Company was very much like funeral home acquisition companies now operate. In the 1860’s a German immigrant began acquiring small casket companies folding them into one company. In 1906 his son, John A. Hillenbrand bought the company known as Batesville.
- In 1950 there was still over 700 small casket companies in America. By 2000, that was down to 147 companies and there are even fewer today.
- Nationwide casket manufacturer sales in 2014 topped $700 million. By 2018 that number was down to $550 million.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Lottery funding secures future of Ponsharden burial ground Falmouth. Falmouth Packet (Great Britian)
- Day of the Dead comes alive at Evergreen Cemetery in Houston. Click2 – Houston (TX)
- A survivor. A funeral director, A marriage divided. How Americans’ COVID experience shaped their votes. Los Angeles Times (CA) Editor’s Note: I debated including this story because it does have a political bent. However, I put it through simply because it does tell of one funeral director’s struggle in dealing with the COVID pandemic earlier this Spring.
- After 100 years, could Alameda County be getting a new cemetery? The Mercury News (CA)
- Cremation data study finds up to 1,600 excess deaths during Spring lockdown. CP24 – Ontario (Canada)
Information from our profession and press releases:
- Self-Care Handbook: Complimentary from the Funeral Service Foundation. A handbook entitled “Caring for Families & Caring for Yourself: Self Care Resources for Funeral Service Professionals.”
- Educational Center: “Why preplanning a Funeral is a Gift of Love.” Great Western Insurance Company.
- NFDA News: Urgent warning on counterfeit respirators.
- Webinar: “The Guide to Content Marketing – Build trust through social media this Holiday Season.” Brought to you free of charge from Disrupt Media. Scheduled for November 17.
- Webinar: “Raise your Level of Service.” Brought to you free of charge from CANA and Passages. Scheduled for November 10. Can be approved for 1 CEU.
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