Death Care Market Sizing
According to our calculations based on several market reports, the total US death care market size is approximately $57,755,566,080. Our research did not produce a market size for US burials, but we have provided below information and insights regarding the funeral homes and cemetery services markets in the US, some combination of which represents the burial market. We have also provided information and insights regarding the US cremation services market, which is on the rise as increasing numbers of Americans opt for cremations in lieu of traditional burials. Below is an explanation of our research methodology, followed by a breakdown of our findings on these subjects.
Our first approach in researching the US market size of death care as a whole, and of the burial and cremation segments within it, was to examine relevant industry organizations. Two notable organizations in this regard are the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and the Cremation Association of North America (CANA). NFDA provides some relevant statistics, such as the total number of funeral homes in the United States, although its revenue figures are outdated. The organization also releases annual reports that are unfortunately only available to its members, such as its 2018 Cremation and Burial Report. The most recent of these reports that is now available to the general public is the 2015 report. CANA provides little relevant information aside from the growth rate of cremations in the US.
After failing to find a substantial amount of information via the first approach, our second approach consisted of an extensive search of United States governmental bodies to find relevant, authoritative data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data regarding employment in the death care industry, but nothing else of use. The most useful government-provided data found in our search came from a brief report issued by the US Commercial Service, a division of the US Department of Commerce. This report supplied several relevant figures, albeit ones from 2016, as well as useful definitions and contextual information.
Having failed to find substantial information via the first two approaches, as a third approach we conducted a search of independent market research agencies, as well as media outlets (as newly-released market reports are often reported in news articles). This allowed us to find several market reports relating to the US death care market size as a whole. Noted market research agency IbisWorld has produced market reports on funeral homes, cemetery services, and cremation services in the US. However, we could not link directly to these reports, so instead we linked to the agency's main page and included the exact search term to locate the relevant report.
Below, we first provided an overview of the US death care market as a whole. This market encompasses both burial and cremation services in addition to other services in the death care industry. While the cremation services industry is typically treated as its own sector within this industry in other market reports, burial services are not; the cost of a burial is encompassed in services rendered by both funeral homes and cemeteries. As such, in lieu of providing the US market size of burials (which was not found in the course of our research), we provided the market size of funeral homes and of cemetery services, some combination of which can be said to be the market size of burials.
US DEATH CARE MARKET SIZE
For the purpose of market analysis, the death care industry includes: funeral services, internment (which includes cremation), and memorial services (e.g. tombstones or mausoleums). Thus, the overall death care market size encompasses both burial and cremation services, in addition to several other services in the death care process.
While market reports on this subject universally require payment to access in full, most note that the US death care market size is expected to reach $68 billion by 2023, growing at a 4% CAGR (this is noted by Arizton Advisory & Intelligence and Research and Markets, among others). The estimated 2019 size is not given, but by extrapolating from these figures, we can calculate the current US death care market size:
Thus, the 2019 death care market size in the United States is approximately $57,755,566,080.
US Cremation Market Size
According to IbisWorld (search term: 'Cremation Services in the US'), the 2018 market size of cremation services in the US was approximately $2 billion, with 11,728 businesses operating in the sector. The latter figure is substantially higher than the 7,000 crematoriums that the US Commercial Service identified in 2016. This may be explained by a more expansive definition utilized by IbisWorld, including both crematoriums and funeral homes or other businesses that operate in the cremation sector. It may also partly be due to a high rate of growth in the cremation sector, with a 7.9% rise in the percentage of deaths cremated between 2013 and 2018, as more and more Americans choose cremation over traditional burials. In fact, over half — 53.1% — of US deaths were cremated in 2018, with that figure expected to continue to rise.
US funeral homes market size
According to IbisWorld (search term: 'Funeral Homes Industry in the US'), the US market size for funeral homes in 2019 is approximately $17 billion, representing a substantial portion of the approximately $57 billion in the US death care market size as a whole. IbisWorld found that there are 29,717 US businesses in the industry, a figure substantially higher than the 19,136 reported by the NFDA (although this may be due to under-reporting, as the NFDA only utilizes the National Directory of Morticians Redbook). IbisWorld states that this market has grown at a rate of 1.2% between 2014 and 2019. Nonetheless, the agency notes that "changing funeral preferences in recent years have led more families away from burial and toward lower-cost cremation services, reducing the industry revenue generated per client," potentially spelling trouble for the industry in the future.
US Cemetery services market size
According to IbisWorld (search term: 'Cemetery Services Industry in the US'), the US market size for cemetery services is approximately $2 billion in 2019, growing at a rate of 1.7% over the past five years. IbisWorld states that there are 8,472 businesses in this sector. Like the funeral homes sector, the closely-connected cemetery services sector is at risk from a rising number of cremations, which overtook burials in 2015 (48% of US deaths were cremated that year, as opposed to 45% buried). Those who choose cremation in lieu of burial may bypass the cemetery services industry entirely, making its continual growth year-over-year of particular concern for this sector of the death care industry.
Our calculations, based on several market reports, suggest that the overall US market size for the death care industry is approximately $57,755,566,080. IbisWorld (search terms: 'Cremation Services in the US,' 'Funeral Homes Industry in the US,' and 'Cemetery Services Industry in the US') states that the US market sizes for the cremation services industry, funeral homes industry, and cemetery services industry are approximately $2 billion, $17 billion, and $2 billion, respectively. The numbers of businesses in these industries are 11,728, 29,717, and 8,472, respectively. Overall, the primary trend shaping these industries is the increasing commonality of cremations, due in large part to reduced costs in conjunction with environmental concerns associated with burials.