Lies, Damned Lies and Funeral Business Statistics

“Everything has a past. Everything – a person, an object, a word, everything. If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present and plan properly for the future.” Chaim Potok, Davita's Harp
  • How many funerals are you planning to organise this year?
  • How many funerals could there be in your town or region in 2016?
  • How could these funerals be split between the different Funeral Directors in your area?
  • How could national companies like Dignity and Co-operative Funeralcare impact your local funeral business market in 2016?
  • How could the trend for online funeral planning sites impact your funeral business in 2016?

These are fundamental questions. Every Funeral Director's needs to be clearly able to forecast their business turnover in 2016. Where can that data come from?

Death Is On The Rise

Since 1995, death rates fell significantly in the UK. However, in 2015, England and Wales saw the largest rise in deaths since 1968. It was the steepest increase in 47 years. This is down to the rise in dementia and Alzheimer-related deaths, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

Dignity and Co-operative Funeralcare saw a sharp increase in their profits last year. Dignity's sales were up 23%, and profit rose by 14%. It would seem that the boom in deaths helped the Co-operative Group significantly. Funeral sales grew by 9.9 % in 2015. Struggling with a slump in supermarket sales, they plan to open 200 more funeral locations in the next three years. Where did this all this new business arise for these firms? 

How Will This Trend Impact An Independent Funeral Director?

The truth is the ultimate death rate still stands at 100%! Only so many people will die in your area in 2016. Who is going to get that business? National Companies have marketing advantages over local Independents especially developing online marketing. Would it help to know how many deaths could occur in your area?  Then, strategically plan on how you could get that new business? This where digital marketing for local Funeral Directors could help.

Digital technology opens up new resources for planning and projecting business targets. Do you know how many funerals your business needs to carry out at an average cost to reach your business plan for 2016? What are the mortality rates in your area? An interesting tool to measure these statistics is the Mortality Map. Put in your town and you can see a mapping tool that displays the mortality rates for your town since 2004.

Statistics like these are useful to learn. Importantly, these trends in the growth/decline of death rates could impact Independent Funeral Directors. How much of this potential new business will you see? A new statistical planning tool for Funeral Directors called Statlas may be a useful instrument in the planning process. 

Statlas

Statlas is a planning tool that helps Funeral directors analyse their local trading area. It provides them with in-depth statistical analysis, using the latest government statistics. Statlas works with Funeral Directors to help them understand their local market. Knowing this detailed information, you can review past performance and plan for the future. These reports can be used to identify:

  • New areas for business expansion.
  • How well your funeral business is performing in your area.
  • Where your customers (& families) have been located.

Statlas provides detailed graphs and analysis of your business and your region. You can download a sample set of reports here. 

Conclusion

As the quote attributed to Benjamin Disraeli goes, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Yes, statistics can lie, but they are also useful guides.

Digital technology now helps those who run funeral businesses in many ways. Understanding growth trends or decline can help plan your business goals for the next years. With the increase in sales by Dignity and Co-operative Funeral Care, it underlines again the critical need for Funeral Directors to adapt to a changing marketplace by becoming more intentional with digital marketing.  

What are your steps to gain the same or a bigger market share in 2016? I would love to hear from you.