Victoriaville & Co. expands to Ohio. . . .our casket math



Victoriaville & Co., the Canadian based company that provides death care merchandise on three continents, announced in this press release a 67,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Cleveland, Ohio.  According to Alain Dumont, President and CEO of Victoriaville & Co., “This manufacturing addition to our existing capacity has become necessary in order to support the company’s sustained growth by expanding the company’s workforce, by simplifying its supply chain and by specializing all three manufacturing plants”.


According to the press release Victoriaville & Co. employs hundreds of people in Canada, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Victoriaville & Co. and has become the third largest manufacturer of hardwood caskets in North America.

You can learn more about Victoriaville & Co. from their website here.


Funeral Director Daily take:  When I received this press release it interested me because of how we perceive casket sales units, in numbers, to decline over time as cremation and other disposition methods become a higher percentage of all deaths.  However, demographers have also told us that we will have more people (population) in the United States going forward so even with less percentage of total disposition sales, there is expected to be ample room for companies to profit off the sale of caskets going forward.  I’m pretty sure that is what Victoriaville & Co. is banking on with this investment.


Doing some research for this article was somewhat interesting for me and I learned some things and did a little math to give me some background and future-casting into casket sales going into the future.  Here’s some things I learned:


  • In 2043 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects that U.S. deaths will exceed births.
  • The CBO projects an increase in U.S. deaths of about 140,000 per year between now and 2030.
  • The CBO also projects, however, that the number of deaths from 2030 to 2050 will be fewer than previous projections.  That is because of the excess of more than 1.5 million deaths over the past couple of years due to the pandemic and drug overdose epidemic.
  • The U.S. population is projected to grow by 79 million people over the next 4 decades. . .and as births wane, the majority of that increase will be from immigration.
  • 2021 was the deadliest year in United States history — approximately 3.465 million deaths.  Compare that to the last pre-Covid year of 2019 when there was approximately 2.854 million deaths.


Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

So, what does that mean for the wholesale casket business?  I’m not an expert on this subject but my layman’s interpretation and math would lead to the conclusion that “Market Share” and not “Universal Volume Growth” will be what wholesale casket companies will be trying to defend and gain.


For instance if we use the 2109 deaths of 2.854 million people in the United States and a cremation rate of 55%, then about 45% of deaths would require a casket sale.  That would equate to a number of 1.28 million caskets sold in the United States.


Then let’s spin ahead to 2030 and anticipate an increase of 20% in total deaths between 2019 and 2030.  Using 2019 as our base number because it is the last pre-Covid death year.  If we do that we will be projecting a total of 3.42 million deaths in the United States in 2030.  Let’s assume we now have a cremation (or other disposition method) rate of 65% and a casketed rate of 35%.  Those numbers would equate to a number of 1.197 million caskets sold in the United States. . . . a drop of about 6.5% in unit volume total over a ten-year or so timetable.


Who will do that business?  —  That is a good question.  The large companies like Batesville and Aurora have proven that they can operate a nationwide profitable enterprise in the casket business with good volumes like they have today.  If that market share gets “cut into” can they continue to operate profitably?  That’s a great question also, but they already are doing things about that by getting into other death care merchandise and services. . . especially dealing with the cremation client.


Who will take market share?  There is a group of small regional operators in the casket business who can operate very efficiently in their regional markets and be very receptive to client needs.  Their adaptability to the “local market” may be a secret for them to add market share.


Batesville, Aurora, and possibly Victoriaville can probably win casket sale market share as the regional and national funeral home consolidator operators grow.  These companies have the scale and pricing power to win large contracts with large chains. I think that is their weapon.


Finally, I think the online operators who deliver individual caskets have an incredible ability to win market share as they interact/interface with digital customers as the world moves forward.  I’m always amazed when I look at Funeral Director Daily sponsor Titan Casket’s website and read some of the reviews.  It certainly shows that these customers, in most cases are satisfied with their purchase. . . .and there is that perceived or actual price savings for consumers with this method of buying online.. . . . .I’m guessing that years ago companies like Sears, KMart, and Herbergers had no idea how online sales would grow and affect their fortunes.  Might that happen in the casket business?


By the way, Titan Casket has a program for existing funeral homes to partner with them.  You can learn about that program here.


So, the simple press release from Victoriaville & Co. led me to some research and thoughts on the casket unit sales market going forward.  I’m of the opinion that the pandemic has exacerbated changes in the death care profession and how casket sales are impacted is one of those changes.  I think the story of how consumers choose caskets and how funeral homes may offer them is changing and the results of the modus operandi of the “new funeral customer” is still being written.


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1 Comment

  1. Benjie Hughes on February 5, 2023 at 11:46 pm

    Tom I’m not sure what to think about Titan being one of your sponsors. Since you’re out of the business you don’t have any need to worry about losing merchandise sales. And yes my FH and several thousand others still make money from selling merchandise.

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