2021 and the Funeral Industry

December 10, 2020

What Trends and Challenges Will the New Year Bring?

A year ago, as many of us reflected on 2019 and anticipated the industry outlook for 2020, very few of us, if any, considered the potential of a global pandemic. We could not have predicted the tidal wave that COVID-19 would send through our industry. 

The silver lining of the past year—aside from seeing funeral industry professionals rise to the challenge like never before—has been the lessons learned. If we did not before, we now realize that we as an industry are capable of adapting and, more importantly, we are capable of innovation. 

Adaptability will continue to be key in 2021.

As much as we would like to when we end 2020, we cannot leave COVID-19 behind. Our best advice for 2021 is to expect the unexpected. Be ready and willing to adapt. This attitude and mindset will be essential as funeral homes are called to support families and their unique needs.

Expect more personalized funeral services.

As the baby boomer generation begins to make up a larger component of our aging population, these adults will likely take a new approach to funeral planning. Funeral services are already shifting from more somber ceremonies to celebrations of life. 

More adults are also becoming interested in advance funeral planning as an extension of preparing their will or estate. This allows them to relieve their family of the burden later on but also to have the peace of mind of specifying certain wishes or desired elements of their funeral services. 

Funeral live streams are here to stay. 

One major change due to the pandemic was the shift to virtual memorials and services. The demand for technology in the industry rose in 2020 and will continue in the new year. Even as we slowly transition back to larger in-person funerals, families will request live funeral streams for a variety of reasons. Our capacity to bring services to an online audience allows loved ones and friends across the country to participate, even if they could not make the trip to be there in person. 

Innovation—especially in regards to cremations—will remain a focus in 2021. 

Due to environmental concerns, as well as the higher cost, traditional casket burials are continuing to decrease across the country in favor of cremation. The 2020 NFDA Cremation & Burial Report noted that the projected burial rate was 37.5% compared to the projected cremation rate of 56%. By 2035, again per the NFDA, the national rate of cremation is expected to be 80%. 

Many companies outside of the industry are offering unique cremation services and options that are appealing to many adults. If your funeral home intends to compete, you must be willing to innovate your own unique offerings to meet the burial preferences of the families you serve.

Do what you do best and ask for help when you need it. 

Challenging times sometimes result in complicated mortuary shipping issues or arranging out-of-town cremations. When you need help, please reach out to National Mortuary Shipping at any time. Our team is here 24/7, and we want to support you and your funeral home.

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