Why is direct cremation so popular today? Cremation trends in 2019

The cremation rate has risen exponentially over the last 6 years to reach almost 55 percent in 2018.  It seems that more Americans are opting for a cremation service these days instead of a burial service.  We are in changing times, and most significantly, cremation offers a more affordable and flexible death care alternative to traditional burial.  More people are looking for “simple and affordable” alternatives, and direct cremation is leading the cremation trend.

The term ‘direct cremation’ is an industry term, that represents what many would refer to as a simple or basic cremation.

Cremation services save thousands on the cost of a funeral service

A traditional burial service would cost in the region of $10,000 to $15,000.  A cremation service costs in the region of $3,000.  A direct cremation can be arranged for even less than this.  For many families who are struggling with finances, and living paycheck to paycheck, even raising $3,000 can seem impossible.

A direct cremation service can be purchased in most areas for between $700 and $1,500 at the time of need.  This means that direct cremation offers a much more affordable death care solution for many families where finances are a big concern.

Cremation Service Why is there such a big shift to direct cremation?

Direct cremation is the most economical cremation option available to families.  And, where many families are choosing direct cremation for financial reasons, there is also a demand today simply for affordable and ‘no-fuss’ cremation.  Even individuals who are not governed by financial limitations are opting for direct cremation.  Why?  Because it seems there is a shift away from the need for traditional funeral services.  Direct cremation offers a simple and flexible disposition.  For families with relatives who have transplanted and migrated to different states or cities, a direct cremation offers an easy way to coordinate death care requirements at the place of death, and memorial services as and when convenient.

Affordable Pre-need Cremation Plans

Preplanning a direct cremation can be arranged for around $2,500.  This secures a direct cremation when the need arises, and is still an affordable way to pre-plan and have peace of mind.  Today’s senior population and baby boomer generation understand the benefit of prepaying a cremation plan now to give them a sense of preparation, and save their children from the financial burden of funeral costs.

This demographic of 50+ also seem to be leading a shift away from traditional funerals.  They want something simple and have more creative ideas about memorialization.  Direct cremation fits with their mind-set.

Direct cremation vs. Cremation Memorial services

Most funeral homes still tend to want to sway families to a cremation that includes a viewing or funeral service. Naturally, they feel that their ‘expertise’ in helping families memorialize and process grief, is an intrinsic part of their service offer.  However, industry reports indicate that of all cremations performed, the majority are direct cremations.  It seems the funeral industry prefers to keep this data somewhat quiet!

Understandably, the funeral industry wants to try and keep direct cremation ‘suppressed’ as much as possible.  It means their revenue and profit-margins decline significantly.  However, the industry IS aware of this huge shift.  Service Corporation International (SCI), the largest corporate death care company, has invested in direct cremation with the Neptune Society.  Neptune Society is a direct cremation company.

Other regional death care companies have quietly acquired funeral businesses that have positioned themselves to serve the direct cremation market.

Price-shopping is a reality in the death care market

Purchasing funeral services used to not be about discussing costs.  A funeral purchase is a ‘distressed purchase’ and it seemed disrespectful to inquire about costs.  Today, we are so entrenched in price-shopping and comparing prices.  And now this is impacting on the funeral business.

Now, we have funeral businesses who are Google-advertising competing in the ‘best price’.  Indeed, some areas almost have a price-war over direct cremation prices.

So, whether the funeral industry embraces it or not, direct cremation is becoming the popular disposition option within the death care market today.