Dignity, one of the UK's industry leaders when it comes to the business of death, says a 12 per cent drop in the popping of clogs and kicking of buckets over the course of the first three months of 2019 has resulted in a 15 per cent dip in revenue, and an operating profit drop of 42 per cent. So break out the booze and fags if you want to support the British funeral market, because the longer you're alive, the less money it's making.
The news comes via The Guardian, with Dignity's data pointing to a predicted three per cent decline in people dying in 2019 when compared to last year. With just 580,000 potential customers coming through the mortuary doors over the course of the year, the company is facing the grave prospect of a £1m drop in operating profit, down from £4m.
In the wake of the news, share prices have slumped by 6 per cent. Even the number of cremations that Dignity is performing seem to fizzling out, down from 19,100 to 18,000.
According to UK Funerals Online, the funeral market in the UK is worth £1 billion annually and 600,000 funerals take place each year. Dignity and the Co-op are the two industry leaders, and are involved in 25 per cent of all funerals in Britain.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that UK councils have spent £5.4m on "pauper's graves" for those with no friends or surviving relatives to take care of their funeral arrangements once they've shaken off this mortal coil. On the other end of the spectrum, you can opt to have your ashes jettisoned into space for a few thousand pounds, resulting in you posthumously raining down on friends and enemies alike as precipitation. Maybe even splashing down on an unsuspecting eyeball, or if you're really lucky, right into someone's mouth. Take that, Janet!
But it's not all doom and gloom for Dignity; deaths overall are expected to be on the rise, reaching 700,000 by 2040 if the company has anything to do with it. We advise not crossing the road when you see any Dignity vehicles slowly driving by. Just in case.