The UK’s traditional funeral market shifts as direct cremations rise in popularity by 500%

The UK’s traditional funeral market shifts as direct cremations rise in popularity by 500%

 · 4 min read
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One of the UK’s leading direct cremation providers, Celebration of Life, gives insight into the rise of the affordable funeral alternative.

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During the midst of Covid-19 and its subsequent social restrictions, many were advised to opt for unattended funerals as a way to celebrate the lost life of a loved one. At this time, direct cremations were already on the rise, and many feel the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards this style of funeral. Direct cremations allow for families to organise a more personal send-off without the need for a traditional funeral service and accompanying costs.

As reported in SunLife’s 2022 Cost of Dying report, the extent of individuals choosing Direct Cremations over a traditional funeral in the UK has risen from 3% in 2019 to 18% in 2021. These findings show that direct cremations have risen 500% in popularity over a two-year period.

Mark Screeton, SunLife’s CEO, says:

“It is clear from our report that the pandemic has triggered a fundamental shift in people’s attitudes. Most notably, the option of a direct cremation is becoming far more widely understood and accepted.”

However, the relentless surge in desire for direct cremations precedes Covid-19. Underlying shifts in consumer behaviour are largely due to the affordability of direct cremations when compared to traditional funerals. In 2021, the average funeral cost of a traditional funeral (excluding professional fees and extras) was £4,056 (£3,765 for a cremation and £4,927 for a burial). By contrast, the average cost of a direct cremation came to £1,647 last year. This means that for those choosing a direct cremation, savings of around 60% (or £2700) can be made.

 Direct Cremation provider, Celebration of Life, offer a better than average price for their at-need cremation services starting at just £850 and £1,450 for their fully inclusive pre-paid direct cremation plan.

 David Cooper, Celebration of Life’s co-founder expressed the following:

“Celebration Of Life was founded to offer a simple service which removes the stress and cost out of traditional funerals. Frustrated with many providers smoke and mirror sales tactics, we promised we’d always offer simple and transparent pricing and put customer service first.”

The significant growth in demand for funeral plans over recent years led to increasing concerns of some providers and the potential for consumer harm in the pre-paid funeral sector. Funeral plans that fail to meet the needs and expectations of a consumer, as well as those using high-pressure sales tactics were amongst the concerns. This prompted a government call for Input in 2018, which has now progressed to the recent Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) legislation.

As of July 29th, 2022, firms who wish to provide pre-paid funeral plans must be authorised by the FCA. Meaning all pre-paid funeral plans (including direct cremation plans) can be purchased with peace of mind.

To help existing funeral plan customers understand their position, firms and their respective FCA status can be found on this list of all known funeral plan providers.

Amongst the twenty-six providers to have their pre-paid funeral plans regulated by the FCA were Celebration of Life. This recent authorisation means customers will now have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so their money is fully protected.

With a combination of financial protection through FCA and the want for freedom in how we celebrate our loved one’s life, the shift towards unattended funeral services in the UK is evident.

For any further information or advice on direct cremations in the UK, please contact Celebration of Life.

Celebration of Life Planning Ltd is a funeral plan provider authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and entered onto the Financial Services Register under reference 958912.

All data has been collated from Sunlife’s 2022 Cost of Dying report.

Pension Times Editors
Pension Times Editors
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