How The Death Industry Is Transforming Right Now

As we begin to dry off our wings from the storm that was COVID, the air of change breathes new life into an industry full of death.

The changes may not have come easily, but they’re here.

And, they’re not going anywhere. At least we hope not.

Below, we’ll cover some of the major shifts we’ve seen happen in the last year or so, in the face of a pandemic.

You may be no stranger to most of these changes, but our hope is that by the end of this blog, you’ll be excited about the new era of death that we’re entering. And through your excitement, you’ll help create it. Check it out below:


COVID has created a slew of extra costs and reduced revenues for funeral homes across the country

Walker Posey of Posey Funeral Directors recently explained to CNBC, that although the general public may think funeral directors must be “banking” from the COVID-related death surge, the opposite is actually true. He explained in his video interview that costs associated with maintaining a funeral home have increased significantly during times of COVID. While this is no surprise to you if you work in a funeral home, it’s worth noting this change that is likely the source of many big changes we will continue to see in the profession.


Throughout COVID, funeral directors have become more engaged throughout the entire process of funeral planning

Before COVID, funeral directors were more involved in the logistics of the funeral service and less with the planning. Fast forward to now, where you, the funeral professionals all around the country, have stepped up to assist in the difficult task of planning a loved one’s service during  a pandemic. With more details and planning necessary, this support has become a necessity and we are grateful you have stepped up to offer that.


The value of communal grieving in a service has become more valuable than ever

As much as we’re over talking about COVID, just like you, this one is worth mentioning. Remember the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder?”. Well, in this case, not having community support in the midst of a loss makes the heart value it even more. We predict that as it becomes more viable to have funeral service gatherings, the perceived value of them will continue to rise exponentially. 

To explain this, Sobonfu Somé, an expert on spirituality told Worth publication: “Communal grieving offers something that we cannot get when we grieve by ourselves. Through acknowledgement, validation and witnessing, communal grieving allows us to experience a level of healing that is deeply and profoundly freeing.”


Big Tech is beginning to jump on board and innovate the funeral industry

According to Crunchbase shared through CNBC, “over the past three years, venture and seed backers have put capital into at least 26 companies offering products and services around death and bereavement”. Ready or not… Here comes [more] disruption and change! With an increasing number of eyes peeking into the opportunities that lie ahead for the funeral profession, Millenials are feeling more and more drawn to this industry to disrupt it.


Millennials see the opportunities too… and are here to pave a new way

“Millennials are used to examining old industries and figuring out if they’re still serving the public today,” said Caitlin Doughty to NBC News in a recent interview. According to Doughty, “No industry is less serving to the public than the funeral industry”. While her words might read a bit harsh, we can at least acknowledge that the business model of many funeral homes relies on services and products are rapidly losing their perceived value. Especially if they have anything to do with burial, which has plummeted down to 37.5% percent in the last few years


A wide range of new services and professional roles are being born in the death industry

With a new set of eyes on the changing landscape of funerals, comes a new set of products, services, and even professional roles. From green burials to Death Doulas, and even Living Funerals, one thing is for sure… the way we served families in the past is being forced to change. 


These new services and roles focus less on tradition and more on unique meaning

Adelle Archer, an industry thought leader and the CEO of Eterneva, explains: “I think it’s about optionality. We’re breaking with tradition. We’re starting to say ‘What’s personal and meaningful for me and my loved one, and what feels right?’ rather than ‘What have we always done?’.”

She, among many others, have recognized that families only really feel connected to a service if there is unique meaning to it, which is why she meets her customers with that through her unique cremation diamonds.


The demographic profile of funeral professionals is changing

Although we covered the major topics of change happening in the funeral profession, we have to mention the changing demographic of funeral professionals. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, more than 60 percent of students studying mortuary science are female. On top of that, the American Board of Funeral Service Education noted that 85 percent of new enrollees in mortuary school had no prior association with funeral service.

That means that gone are the days where the funeral business is predominantly a family duty, passed on from generation to generation. Coming are the days where folks from all different walks of life and backgrounds are ready to meet the changing needs of today’s funeral consumer.


What other changes have you noticed in the death industry since the pandemic? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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