The UK funeral market is estimated to earn an estimated value of approximately £1 billion annually, with over 600,000 funerals taking place each year.
The performance of the Funeral Activities industry is sensitive to the number of deaths, the average age of the population and household disposable income.
Office for National Statistics data suggests that although the UK death rate fell slightly over the past five years, the proportion of the population over 75 continued to grow. In addition to growing real household disposable income, this provided favourable conditions for industry growth.
The result has been revenue growth averaging 3.2% per year over the five years through 2011-12. In 2011-12 alone, the industry was expected to grow 3.3%.
Prices can and do vary enormously between not just regions but between individual homes within the same area, so comparing like for like quotes is strongly recommended to anyone requiring funeral related services.
Funeral director businesses range from part time, sideline ventures to (small to medium groups) through to international corporations.
One of the main criticisms of the industry by watchdogs and other groups is that funeral homes are not being totally clear as to their true ownership, hence the reason many traditional family business names still exist even though they may have been acquired by larger groups.
The funeral market in the UK has 2 industry leaders, The Co-operative Group (CWS Ltd) and Dignity Caring Funeral Services (Dignity Plc). The Co-operative Group has over 675 branches across the UK and conduct around 90,000 funerals a year.
They also own the North Eastern Co-operative. Dignity have just over 500 branches and conduct 75,000 funeral a year. Between these 2 companies, they are currently involved in over 25% of all funerals in the UK.
For more information on the UK funeral services market, see the latest research: UK Funeral Services Market
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