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 that increase in 2020 and 2021.
This is a fragmented industry, where barriers to entry are high. The four largest companies in the business as a group capture 22% of total sales. Approximately 85% of funeral homes in the United States are privately owned by families or individuals.
Top 5 Things to Know About the Funeral Home Industry
Industry size: Marketdata estimates that the U.S. death care industry was worth $20.2 billion in 2021, with receipts up 8.4% from 2019. Approximately $15.6 billion of this was generated by funeral homes. Revenues grew another 7.7% in 2021 to $21.7 billion. Industry revenues are forecast to grow at a slower 1.9% average annual pace from 2022-2025, to $23.4 billion.
COVID-19 pandemic affects operations: The pandemic has turned the industry inside out, in terms of how it serves its customers. Cremations reached a record 1.9 million in 2020, as the cremation rate hit a new peak of 57.5%. As the price of the average funeral is now to $7,848, more people are opting for less costly cremations.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, funeral homes had to shift to much greater use of virtual services, and more cremations, as consumers were hesitant to organize in-person family gatherings for fear of infection. Virtual services are expected to continue post-pandemic.
Funeral industry metrics: The average funeral home had estimated receipts of $1.05 million in 2020, and the average cemetery had revenues of $910,000. The national median cost of a funeral with a viewing and burial in 2021 was approximately $7,848, while the cost of a funeral with cremation was approximately $6,971.
Market share: Four large death care companies include Service Corp. Intl., Carriage Services, StoneMor Inc., and Park Lawn Corp., which had combined revenues of $5.2 billion in 2021 — good for 22% of the industry’s revenues. They are growing via acquisitions.
Major death care industry trends: The industry is being impacted by a rising share of cremations, accelerated use of virtual services, consolidation, more environmentally conscious burials, more online competition for products such as caskets, urns, etc., stable/declining prices, greater customization and personalization of services, and an aging American population.
Where to Learn More
For more information, see the comprehensive 101-page report titled The U.S. Funeral Homes, Cemeteries & Crematories Industry by Marketdata, a respected market research firm. This report includes key death care industry statistics and provides competitor profiles. It also explains:
- Factors affecting demand
- Industry size, trends, and growth
- Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
About the Author: John LaRosa is the President of Marketdata LLC and is the author of 100+ industry and market studies. His research appears in top media outlets including ABC, CNN, Fox, Forbes, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and a variety of trade journals.