Cremation rates have steadily begun to climb, for a variety of reasons. It is believed that cost has become a major factor in this incline. Cremation offers a means of disposition for less than half of what a traditional funeral may cost.

The question now becomes: Has COVID-19 and our new more transient society also impacted people’s view of cremation?

The Impact of the Pandemic
For two years, we have had a brand new reality. COVID-19 has affected almost everything:  the way we breathe, socialize, work, and mourn. Funeral homes now offer remote webcasting options for funeral services, seminars, and even the funeral arrangement process. 

America has Amazon warehouses in nearly every metropolitan area. Convenience is now king. What does this mean for the funeral industry?

Communicating the Value of Funeral Homes
For many years, funeral homes were faced with people and organizations trying to peel away at their services and offerings. This includes independent casket and urn dealers, cremation-only enterprises, and internet arrangement companies, to name a few. This will continue to happen, but the value of the funeral director and funeral home will never go away. Death is the most powerful, mystifying, and life-altering experience a person will face. A good funeral home is not merely selling services, but offering knowledgeable guidance and compassion.  

Data Points to a Continued Need for Burials
Data from The Cremation Association of Northern America found that,  “In 2021, the U.S. cremation rate was 57.5%. In 2020, 56.1%. By 2025 the US cremation rate is projected to reach 64.1%”  

By their calculations, the cremation rate will continue to rise, but not exactly skyrocket. There will always be a home for full traditional burial. It appears the popularity of cremation has waned, and a steady incline over the next few years will eventually turn into a plateau. This plateau would continue indefinitely until another massive socio-economic or cultural change occurs.

COVID-19 presented new challenges, but we believe it did not cause long-term changes to the way the cremation rate is rising. New technologies and services are being offered every day in this ever-changing world, and while the funeral industry feels these changes, day-to-day operations shouldn’t look drastically different. The role of the funeral director and funeral home is too vital and multi-faceted. While we will continue with a steady upward rise in cremation rates, it will eventually plateau. There will always be a place for traditional burial.

Author 
Jonathan Craciun is currently a Client Success Manager at Sympathy Brands. He is a third generation death care industry veteran who has held multiple sales roles. Additionally, Jonathan has served as both a location manager and funeral director for over seven years at Craciun Funeral Homes in the Greater Cleveland Area. Craciun earned his Bachelor of Arts from Bowling Green State University.

 

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