In a recent report by Business Insider Australia -17 February 2021, the Covid pandemic has claimed more than 2.4 million lives around the world, however it has actually kept more Australians alive.

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While Australia has managed to largely contain any outbreaks on its shores, the same measures have actually cut a range of other deaths as people are encouraged – or forced – to remain home.

Preliminary ABS figures show that deaths up until October “remained below historical averages”. While that’s all good news, the pandemic has nonetheless hurt many funeral businesses.

According to Business Insider, InvoCare, one of the only publicly-listed funeral companies in Australia, provided an update to the ASX last Wednesday that it would absorb a $26.5 million pre-tax hit this financial year.“ A material portion is linked to the softening of the funeral services sector in Australia and New Zealand, primarily driven by a range of impacts flowing from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in a statement.

Invocare also reported that it is experiencing a rise in bad debts, as families struggle to pay for funerals in full. Meanwhile a lack of foot traffic has led to slower movement among the company’s inventory of crypts, memorials and wall plaques.

Business Insider correctly point out that the reasons behind InvoCare’s costing are many, and go beyond a mere dip in the death rate. For one, restrictions on funerals would have helped capped the size, and therefore the expense of many ceremonies. It has also hurt goodwill towards the company’s New Zealand operations, to the tune of $24.4 million Invocare noted, after restrictions hampered its ability to deliver on expectations.

However we believe that there are other factors at play that are hurting the big funeral chains including changes in consumer behaviour, a shift towards simple cremation and online funeral shopping sites, such as eziFunerals.

 

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In its last financial report – half-year ending 30 June 2020, InvoCare reported that case averages fell 6.6% and funeral volumes fell 3.4%.

eziFunerals will be monitoring closely the case averages and funeral volumes for both InvoCare and Propel Funeral Partners when they report their half-year 30 December 2020 results soon. Following the previous messy half year result for the big funeral chains, we can’t see things getting much better.

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About eziFunerals

eziFunerals supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company. We are not part of any other funeral company.

Our member Funeral Directors operate in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Australia wide. Thet are chosen for their knowledge, quality, service, personalisation and experience. They go above and beyond, and will take the time to support the family.

For more information or to make contact with a trusted Independent funeral director, call eziFunerals on 1300 236 402 or visit www.ezifunerals.com.au.

 

 

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