Funeral Services & Related Activities
South Africa’s high mortality rate and the importance of funerals to the majority of the population have given rise to a large and highly lucrative funeral services industry. The funeral industry includes funeral undertakers and mortuaries, cemeteries and crematoriums, manufacturers of funeral products, transporters of human remains, suppliers of funeral goods, embalmers, and funeral directors. The leading mainstream players include Avbob, Doves and franchisors Martin’s Funerals and the Mosaic Funeral Group. However, the bulk of the industry is made up of small businesses operating informally and serving very local markets.
The funeral industry is characterised by informality, non-compliance and corruption and many funeral parlours are operating without certificates of compliance. There is a dire need to alleviate the growing demand for burial space and some municipalities are promoting second burials in the same plot and cremations. Funeral parlours say there are increasing requests for luxury funerals that may include luxury cars, helicopter hearses and graveside lounge suites.
Due to coronavirus, there are strict regulations in place for funerals. South Africans can travel to other provinces for funerals but they will need a permit and must be a close family member. The maximum number of people who can attend a funeral is 50 and the holding of night vigils is prohibited. There are also new requirements for handling bodies of people who were infected with the virus. Coronavirus has created a few opportunities such as live-streaming of funerals.
This report focuses on South Africa’s funeral services industry, including information on the size and state of the sector, the major players and the effect of issues such as the lack of oversight and coronavirus on the industry. There are profiles of 16 companies including the major players as well as Calgro M3, whose business includes private burial services and memorial parks, crematoriums such as Independent Crematoriums, burial societies such as Tshebedisano and Group Burial Association, and companies that cater for pets such as Legacy Pet Crematorium.