The $20 billion U.S. funeral homes industry is a mature, low-growth and fragmented business comprised of mostly independent services. The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a record 3.4 million deaths and a record 1.9 million cremations, and the industry benefitted from the increase in 2020 and 2021. However, as more consumers opted for cremation, and services shifted from in-person to virtual, the product mix changed, and top-line revenues were constrained.
As the price of the average funeral climbs to $7,848, more people are opting for less costly cremations (57% of all services now and rising steadily). This study is Marketdata’s 3rd edition investigation of the industry. It examines the industry’s nature and structure, major trends and issues, factors affecting demand and growth, pricing/profit margins, funeral home operating ratios from the Census Bureau and trade groups, demographics/death rates, and industry receipts from 1985-2019 actual, 2020-2021 estimated, 2022 & 2025 forecasts. Separate analyses of funeral homes and cemeteries. Effects of the pandemic on growth and operations is included.
Contains results of surveys by government agencies, the leading trade associations and private sector organizations, brokerage firm analysts, etc. In-depth profiles of: Service Corp., Carriage Services, Park Lawn, StoneMor Corp., Matthews Intl., and Bates (Hillenbrand).
Table of Contents
Introduction - Study Scope, Sources Used, Methodology
Executive Overview and Major Findings
(Highlights of ALL study chapters)
- Industry Nature/Definition: typical services provided by funeral homes, main character- istics of the business, no. of funeral homes, factors affecting demand
- Factors affecting demand: Consumer Attitudes about funeral homes, cremation, pre- arrangements, death rate and life expectancy trends
- Major industry trends: death rate/aging of population, green services, growth via acquisition, shift to more creations, pre-need programs become more popular, online competition in caskets, more personalization & customization, shift to virtual services
- Industry size/growth/forecasts (1985-2019 actual, 2020-2021 estimated 2022 & 2025 forecast), factors affecting growth, effects of the pandemic, performance by large chains, analysts, long-term outlook for the industry
- Industry Structure: Snapshots of the Funeral Homes industry, Cemeteries & Crematories industry (2007, 2012, 2017, 2020), major funeral home operating ratios based on U.S. Census surveys, historical (no. of establishments, avg. receipts & payroll per estab. and employee, mkt. share for top 50 firms)
- The main competitors: 2019-2021 revenues for top 4 (Service Corp., Carriage Services, Park Lawn, StoneMor Inc.).
Nature & Profile of The Industry
- Industry structure and evolution
- Factors affecting demand for services
- Major industry trends: discussion of increasing number of cremations, America’s aging population, shift to more virtual services
- Major industry metrics, as reported by the National Funeral Directors Association (prices, cremations, demand for green services, family ownership, no. of funeral homes, etc.)
Factors Affecting Demand
- Discussion: Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on historical mortality patterns
- Discussion: Annual trends in mortality
- Seasonality in deaths - discussion
- Life expectancy - discussion
- Cremation rates: discussion: regional and state differences
- Consumer Attitudes Toward Funeral Homes: How The Pandemic Changed Them
Tables & Charts:
- Chart - Annual deaths in the United States: 1920-2021
- Table: Number of U.S. total deaths, annual percent chg. - 2000-2021
- Chart: Average daily deaths by month in the U.S. - 2010-2021
- Chart: Life expectancy at birth and at age 65, by sex - 2019 & 2020
- Number of U.S. cremations, cremation rate - 1980-2021
Industry Size, Trends, Growth
- Discussion of fragmented nature of the industry, no. of funeral homes, estimated share of large chains, barriers to entry, reasons why industry not much affected by business cycles
- Major Industry Demand/Growth Factors: discussions of… 1) the death rate/aging population, 2) prices/avg. funeral costs, 3) change in no. of funeral homes, 4) product mix of services/more cremations, 5) health of the overall economy.
- Industry Trends: Analysis of: total death rate and aging population, rising cremation rate, pre-need programs, new online competition, retail competition, environmentally conscious burials, holistic after death care, technological change, more customization and personalization, new products/services.
- Revenue data sources: where growth comes from, estimates of no. of no. of U.S. funeral homes, sources of industry receipts data (Census Bureau, Service Annual Survey, County Business Patterns, competitors)
- Effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on revenues and operations - views of NFDA, competitors
- Analysis of top 4 chains’ performance (sales for 2020, 2021, 2022 1st quarter)
- Marketdata estimates of 2020 & 2021 receipts growth, discussion of recent price increases (avg. cost per funeral),
- 2022 & 2025 Forecasts & Rationale: Marketdata forecasted receipts growth, value of industry revenues, long-term outlook, positive & negative factors.
- Total industry national receipts: 1985-2020 actual, for Funeral Homes, Cemeteries & Crematories, combined total, annual percent change.
- Profile of The Leaders - Revenues: 2019-2021, Q1 2022
Economic Structure & Operating Ratios of the Industry (Census Bureau data)
Text/Discussion & analysis of 2020, 2017, 2012 - major Operating Performance ratios; the industry’s structure at a glance, ratios by: Legal Form of Organization, by Single/Multi-Unit, by top 50 firms’ Market Share (Concentration Ratios), by Receipts by Size of Firm, by Receipts by Size of Establishment, Geographic Analysis: Share of National Receipts and Average Receipts Per Establishment - by State.
- Census Tables
- Snapshot of the Funeral Homes industry: summary statistics, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017
- Snapshot of the Cemeteries & Crematories industry: summary statistics, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017
- Labor Productivity Ratios: Funeral Homes: 2002-2020
- Labor Productivity Ratios: Cemeteries & Crematories: 2002-2020
- Funeral Home Receipts, by Type: 2017
- Funeral Homes Industry: Expenses & Profit Margins: 2013-2019
- Cemeteries & Crematories Industry: Expenses & Profit Margins: 2013-2019
- Legal Form of Organization 2017 & 2012 - Total funeral service & crematory firms, by legal form of organization - corporations, sole proprietorships, partnerships: (no. of firms, receipts, payroll as % receipts, no. of employees).
- Ratios by Single vs. Multi-Unit Companies 2017 & 2012 - (ratios as above)
- Market Share (Concentration Ratios) 2017 & 2012 - ratios for top 4, 8, 20, 50 largest firms (no. of estabs., firms, receipts as a % total, payroll as % receipts)
- Ratios by Receipts by Size of Firm 2017 & 2012 - (under $100,000 to $100 + million.); (no. of firms, estabs., receipts, payroll, avg. receipts per firm)
- Ratios by Receipts by Size of Facility 2017 & 2012 - (under $10,000 to $10+ million.); no. of firms, estabs., receipts, payroll, avg. receipts per firm)
- No. of establishments and Average Receipts Per Establishment by State 2020
(For each company below: discussion & analysis of services offered, divisions, markets served; 3-year financial analysis (sales, net profits, 2019-2021, Q1 2022 performance); no. of homes and cemeteries operated, funerals performed, backlogs, history & recent developments/acquisitions, corporate strategies, headquarters.)
- Service Corporation International (incl. Stewart Enterprises, Alderwoods)
- Carriage Services
- StoneMor Inc.
- Park Lawn Corp.
- Hillenbrand (Batesville segment)
- Matthews Intl. Corp.
- Profile of The Leaders - 2019-2021, Q1 2022 Revenues
- Reference Directory of Industry Information Sources
- Addresses, phones, contacts at major industry trade associations, trade journals, industry research reports by brokerage firms.
- Bates (Hillenbrand)
- Carriage Services
- Matthews Intl.
- Park Lawn
- Service Corp.
- StoneMor Corp.