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New Funeral and Death Care Trends for 2021

By Ann Heinz, JD, CDEI
Dec 11, 2020
new funeral and death care trends for 2021

The world of death care is changing — often in ways funeral and death care professionals are not ready for. As the world progresses and grows, some families are bringing new values and traditions with new or different perceptions of funerals. Many are thinking differently about how to honor their loved ones.

In this article, we’ll discuss a few of the new and growing trends in death care.

Digital Technology

Incorporating new technology into the funeral experience has become paramount during the age of COVID-19. But even before the coronavirus pandemic, digital technology was already contributing to the ever-growing trend of personalization in funeral services. For years, funeral homes have been helping with personalized items like memorial videos, digital slideshows, and DVD keepsakes.

And of course, digital technology is essential for modern-day marketing. “As in just about every other business sector, technology is revolutionizing the marketing of a funeral home and it is the single major driver to gaining or losing market share,” explains Ed Michael Reggie, CEO of Funeralocity. “Rarely is price the deciding factor when consumers select … a funeral home. Price is only one consideration. Successful funeral directors today understand that.”

For the year 2021, assess your funeral business’ online presence and digital marketing footprint. Ensure your website and business listings (such as Google My Business) are up-to-date. Digital marketing has the advantage of being faster than traditional marketing. If you do not currently have a robust digital marketing strategy, 2021 is the year to create one.

Aftercare and Grief Services

Having grief services and aftercare services in-house at the funeral home is a popular 2021 trend in the funeral and death care industry

Successful funeral homes understand funeral and burial services are not the end for their clients. Many grieving families need ongoing support afterward. This is the most important reason for funeral homes to offer aftercare services. By providing grief counseling and other compassionate care services, your business can make it easier for grieving families to receive the help they need.

Funeral home businesses can expand the relationships they have with their clients far beyond the few days of planning the funeral and burial. Aside from providing a needed service for grieving families, funeral aftercare services are a way to grow your business, gain referrals by maintaining relationships with your clients, and meet potential future clients.

By providing these services during a critical time, your business will show your commitment to the wellbeing of your clients. This commitment can help build brand loyalty with the families you serve — and perhaps the larger community. Aftercare programs like grief support groups can help bring people from the community to your business year-round.

Green or Eco-Friendly Funerals

As baby boomers start facing their own mortality, the idea of eco-friendly funerals has become a rising trend. After all, this is the generation that embraced recycling and reducing one’s carbon footprint. They and their Millennial children are aware of climate change, melting glaciers, and weather extremes and want to be part of the solution, not the problem.

There are several different “shades” of green when you’re planning a green funeral or natural burial. The possible “shades” your funeral business can offer will depend on your preferences, available funeral home services, cemetery capabilities, and local rules and regulations.


Cremation continues to remain a popular trend in the funeral and death care industry

The national average cremation rate — the percentage of Americans choosing cremation over burial — exceeded 50 percent for the first time in 2016. According to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), the U.S. cremation rate is projected to reach 59.4 percent by 2023 and 71 percent by 2030.

Top reasons people choose cremation are:

  • cost (generally much lower)
  • simplicity (perception of fewer decisions to make)
  • flexibility (ability to schedule a memorial service when a gathering is most convenient)
  • mobility (ability to transport or share remains)
  • environmental concerns
  • a decline in religious observance

To learn more about cremation, see our course Cremation Best Practices. This course introduces funeral professionals to the practical and technical aspects of cremation, explains key terminology, and discusses strategies funeral directors can use to enhance their customer service surrounding their cremation service.

Related Funeral CE Course: Cremation Best Practices

To learn about more about new trends in the funeral and death care industry and how your funeral home can adapt and thrive, you can take our new course, Death Care Trends That Are Changing Tradition. This course helps funeral professionals understand what is changing in the online and face-to-face world of death care, the trends that feed these changes, and steps they can take to meet the needs of their changing customer base.

WebCE offers the largest selection of state-specific funeral CE courses for funeral directors, cremationists, embalmers, and direct disposers. To register for Funeral CE courses with WebCE, visit our Funeral CE Course Catalog or call our customer service representatives at 877-488-9308.

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