The funeral industry first became a significant economic factor after the Civil War and it hit it’s economic achievements in the 1950’s. The first form of preserving bodies was embalming. Before the Civil War medical schools would use techniques from Europe.
Embalming became popular in America because the of the instructors for embalming industries could travel and offer courses in the field and expertise many people. Another reason was that people believed that it would cause less health threats to the communities if people were embalmed instead of left to rot. This industry was inspired on ancient Egyptian rituals.
The industry involved embalming chemical companies, national professional associations, casket manufacturers, florists, cosmetic corporations, automobile companies and cemetery associations, which had a significant economic role.
With the economic crash, many people chose to cremate their loved ones because it does not involve all the various costs that embalming does. Cremation costs about $1,600 compared to $10,000 to $16,000 spent on traditional burials.
Although the funeral industry is somewhat impacted by the economic situation, it is mature and it is stable, and it is resistant to recessions. Revenue is determined by the death rate, incremental price increases, product mix, and conditions in the broader economy. Business tends to be consistent, but there is a degree of seasonality in results, with revenue and earnings highest during the winter months, when influenza and pneumonia cases peak.