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A new kind of funeral: the rise and rise of direct cremations

24th January 2022

1 min read

Our latest Cost of Dying Report, the industry’s longest-running study into funeral prices, shows more and more people are choosing direct cremations.

  • In 2018, just 2% of UK funerals were direct cremations – today it’s 18%
  • Direct cremations cost less than half the price of the average traditional funeral
  • Direct cremations give people the freedom to hold their own service and send-off

The take-up of direct cremations began to accelerate in 2020 with the introduction of restrictions in the number of people who could attend a funeral. This seems to have improved awareness and understanding of direct cremations amongst the general public.

In 2021, more people chose direct cremations than ever before, even at times when coronavirus restrictions were not in place.

Reasons included cost savings (the average direct cremation is just £1,647 compared to the average basic funeral cost of £4,054) and wanting to reduce stress for loved ones having to organise the funeral.

Mark Screeton, SunLife’s CEO, says:

“It is clear from our report that the pandemic has triggered a fundamental shift in people’s attitudes. Most notably, the option of a direct cremation is becoming far more widely understood and accepted.

“Over 90% of funeral directors now offer direct cremations. As well as reducing costs, direct cremations also increase flexibility, allowing families more choices to organise the send-off whenever and wherever they like.”

To find our more and read the full report, visit

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