Summary of our market study

The global funeral market, valued at $62.5 billion in 2023, is anticipated to grow at an average annual rate of 6.1% to reach $113 billion by 2033. A rise in cremations, partly due to changing preferences and partly to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been observed, with the UK seeing an increase from 74.37% in 2000 to 80.93% in 2021. The UK funeral market is witnessing a shift towards personalized and eco-friendly services, with a significant uptake in direct cremations, which increased from 2% in 2018 to 18% in 2022.

Demographics show an aging population, with a higher ratio of older women, and in England, COVID-19 has notably contributed to a deviation from expected mortality rates across all age groups. The UK's market landscape features fragmentation with small local businesses and national chains; Dignity Ltd reported a turnover of £270.5 million in 2022, and Pure Cremation showed £11.2 million in 2021. Regulations vary, with Scotland moving towards a statutory licensing scheme while other regions remain unregulated.

Evolving Funeral Market Trends in the UK

In recent years, the UK has witnessed several significant trends reshaping its funeral market. These trends are a reflection of demographic shifts, changing social norms, and economic factors, as well as the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Demographically, the UK is experiencing an aging population with a higher proportion of women amongst the elderly, especially evident in higher age groups. With a total of nearly 12.6 million people aged 65 or older, representing around 20 percent of the national population, the demand for funeral services is expected to increase. Mortality rates have changed due to the pandemic, with deaths in the 85 years and older age group being the most recorded, and a significant number of excess deaths in all age groups when compared to expected figures. Notably, there have been between 4,000 and 5,000 deaths due to Covid-19 in the 65-74 age group. Cremation trends have been particularly noteworthy. This shift towards cremation is attributed to several factors, including increased cost-effectiveness, lack of space in traditional cemeteries, and a growing desire for more flexibility in memorial practices.

The market for funeral services is highly fragmented, featuring a mix of small local businesses and larger national companies. This has led to localized demand, with most clients preferring nearby crematory services. The diversity of the industry is also reflected in the number of funeral homes and crematoria, with around 315 crematoria reported in 2021. Financially, the cost of a funeral can vary significantly across regions, with prices for a simple cremation ranging from approximately £2,800 to £3,350 and for a burial from around £3,000 to over £7,200 across different places in the UK. The funeral market's segmentation reveals that leading companies are turning towards offering both traditional and cremation services, highlighting the importance of flexibility in catering to current demands. Dignity Ltd, Pure Cremation, and Funeral Partners are some of the key players in the market, showing turnovers ranging from £10 to £60 million for Funeral Partners and £9 to £28 million for Golden Charter Ltd. Regulations within the UK funeral services sector differ across regions.

Key Market Players Shaping the UK Funeral Industry

The UK funeral market is characterized by a dynamic mix of traditional and modern companies that provide a broad range of services to cater to the evolving needs and preferences of their customers. These key players include both large-scale providers with national networks, as well as specialized firms that offer targeted services such as direct cremation and eco-friendly burials. Here's an overview of some of the significant companies leading the charge in the UK funeral market:

  • Pure Cremation: Standing out for its focus on direct cremations, Pure Cremation addresses the growing demand for no-frills, affordable funeral options. The company prides itself on its straightforward service that involves the cremation of the deceased sans a formal funeral service followed by the return of the ashes to the family. Their business model revolves around simplicity, affordability, and customer convenience.
  • Funeral Partners: Funeral Partners distinguishes itself as one of the UK's chief independent funeral service providers with an impressive portfolio of over 200 branches. Owned by the private equity firm LDC, Funeral Partners maintains a commitment to offering personalized services and helping families through difficult times with compassion and sensitivity.
  • Dignity Ltd: Dignity is a heavyweight in the UK funeral sector, boasting a substantial presence with over 800 branches nationwide. Recognized for its full spectrum of funeral services, the company ensures that each farewell is as unique as the individual it honors. Dignity is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange, reflecting its prominence and the trust placed in it by the public.
  • Golden Charter Ltd.: This company is notable for its pre-planned funeral arrangements, offering insurance and retirement plans that provide peace of mind to individuals looking to prepare for the future. Golden Charter Ltd. is known for its commitment to making the process of planning a funeral as seamless and stress-free as possible.
  • The Green Graveyard Company Ltd: True to its name, The Green Graveyard Company is an innovator in sustainable burials. The firm provides a range of eco-friendly options that allow for the deceased to be laid to rest in a manner that honors their environmental values. They offer services that include natural burials and biodegradable caskets, thus catering to a niche yet increasingly significant segment of the market.
  • Natural Burial Company Ltd: Specializing in nature-based funerals, this company offers services that reflect a profound respect for the environment. Their approach includes natural burials and group ceremonies, all designed to provide a dignified and eco-conscious farewell to loved ones.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Scope of the study

The funeral market includes all services that can be used at the time of death of a person. These are:

  • direct services of the funeral director: these services include the provision of the coffin or urn (depending on the choice of cremation or burial), the transfer of the body and the hygienic care of the deceased. Funeral directors can also take care of administrative procedures such as applying for a death certificate or deregistration with health insurance companies, etc. take over.
  • outside services such as the florist or placement of the obituary. Cemetery fees are also included in funeral expenses.

Due to the increase in deaths as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic and price increases by industry participants due to cost, industry revenue grew 6.1% globally in 2020.

As baby boom generations age, the average mortality rate in developed countries is rising. United Kingdom is no exception, with the average mortality rate increasing from 9.17 to 9.46 per 1,000 population between 2011 and 2020 [Macrotrends], contributing to the development of the funeral market. Demographic change is a positive effect for the funeral market. In particular, in 2022, the U.K. experienced one of the highest mortality rates since World War II, despite the end of the acute pandemic phase. The exact causes are unclear, but possible factors could be problems in the UK healthcare system.

The U.K. market shows wide variation by provider, type of funeral, choice of ceremony, or region. The industry is highly fragmented, with a variety of companies offering funeral services. These range from small, local businesses to larger companies that operate nationally.

1.2 The global funeral market

In ****, the global funeral market is worth $**.* billion and is expected to grow at an average annual rate of *.* percent for ten years until it reaches $*** billion in ****. Projected sales growth in the funeral industry Worldwide, ****-****, in billions of US dollars Source: Factmr The funeral market is very uneven around ...

1.3 The development of the British funeral market

In the UK there are predominantly * types of funeral services, reports the news journal wfuneralnews:

*. The standard burial, it includes:

Collection and transportation of the deceased: Use of personnel and vehicle to transport the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home. Storage of the deceased in the ...

2 Application analysis

2.1 Demographic change

According to the data below, older women outnumber older men: the proportion of women is greater than that of men among the over-**s, and this proportion increases with age. Thus, between the ages of ** and **, women represent **% of the people in this age group compared to **% for men, and for ...

2.2 Mortality in England

Number of registered deaths in England England, ****, in number Source: ****

There were a total of *,*** recorded deaths in the *-** age group, compared with *,*** expected deaths in this age group. Of these deaths, ** were attributable to Covid-**. In the **- to **-year age group, there were a total of **,*** recorded deaths, ...

2.3 A change in demand

Demand patterns for ceremonies surrounding a funeral are changing, with customized funeral plans growing in popularity as people prefer ceremonies that reflect their interests and passions, rather than somber traditions. Six trends can be observed in the U.K., as analyzed by Funeral Partners, the U.K.'s third largest funeral ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Rather localized demand

The market for funeral services in the UK tends to be fragmented, with a variety of independent funeral homes, small family businesses and some large chains. There are also several collaborative models where independent companies work together to achieve economies of scale. Most companies offer a wide range of services, including ...

3.2 Value chain

This is a simplified value chain of the funeral sector, which includes pre- and post-funeral services, including related activities, which are:

Preliminary clarification of the death and consultation with the relatives Collection of the deceased and transfer to the funeral home Preparing the deceased for burial or cremation (***) Organizing the funeral ...

3.3 Price structure of the industry

In the UK, the cost of a funeral varies from region to region and also depends on the services used. This means that the price of a funeral can vary depending on where it takes place and what services are chosen. This can be challenging for bereaved families, who may face ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Number of crematoria and funeral homes in Great Britain

The market for funerals in the UK is highly fragmented and includes a wide range of companies, from small local providers to listed companies such as Dignity Ltd. A similar fragmentation can also be observed in the cremation market, which has seen growth in recent years. With the increasing demand for ...

4.2 Players on the market

Source: ****

4.3 Innovative services conquer the funeral market

In addition to the trends mentioned in Chapter *.*, companies have specialized in environmentally friendly bur ial.At a time when greater awareness of sustainability and environmental damage is becoming increasingly important, this development is also affecting the funeral industry. Green burials, also known as ecological or environmentally friendly burials, are on ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Regulations in UK

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, funeral directors are not regulated, i.e., there are no mandatory qualifications, training, licensing or inspection regimes. In Scotland, funeral services are regulated by the Burial and Cremation (***) Act ****, which provides for the introduction of a statutory licensing scheme and code of practice for funeral ...

6 Positioning of the players

6.1 Segmentation

An analysis of the funeral market shows that the industry leaders do not focus exclusively on traditional funerals. Instead, most companies also offer cremation services. This trend is particularly noticeable among the leading companies in the market, which focus on innovative services and solutions to meet the needs of their ...

  • Pure Cremation
  • Funeral Partners
  • Dignity Ltd
  • The Funeral Market Limited
  • CPJ Field
  • Kenna & Turner Ltd.
  • Golden Charter Ltd.
  • The Green Graveyard Company
  • Naturial Burial Company Ltd

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Funeral industry turnover
  • Growth forecasts for the funeral industry
  • Percentage of cremations
  • Number of registered deaths in England
  • Choice by type of burial in 2018
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Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Pure Cremation
Funeral Partners
Dignity Ltd
The Funeral Market Limited
CPJ Field
Kenna & Turner Ltd.
Golden Charter Ltd.
The Green Graveyard Company
Naturial Burial Company Ltd

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