Killing it! 28% surge in UK funeral directors in past decade – with them even appearing in Corrie and EastEnders

The UK’s funeral industry is ‘killing it’ with a massive 28% surge in UK funeral directors over the past decade – but bosses warn there’s ‘no regulation’.

The nation had 4,015 funeral directors in 2014 yet stats show it boomed to 5,125 in 2024 – a growth of more than a quarter.

A study by BoldData shows a steady yearly increase of the number of funeral directors, with more than ever now gracing the country’s high streets.

With nearly one in five people in England and Wales aged 65 or over, a statistic that has surged by 20% over the past decade, it shows there’s an increasing demand for funeral services.

The upward trajectory is even reflected on our TV screens with soaps including Coronation Street and Eastenders now featuring funeral directors as prominent characters.

Andrew Judd, CEO of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), credits the rise in the number of funeral directors to the fact there are ‘no barriers to entry’ – as there’s no statutory regulation.

He also acknowledges that existing funeral directors are bucking the business consolidation trend by opening up additional outlets to cater for different communities and areas.

Andrew said: “At the moment anyone can set up as a funeral director, I think that’s one of the reasons that there are so many, there are no barriers to entry.

“Most people automatically assume you can’t just become a funeral director [and ask] ‘surely you have to be trained, qualified, and meet certain standards much like lawyers,  vets and dentists?’.

“But the reality is at the moment you don’t. Most of the general public will think that funeral directors are largely the same.

“What we have been vigorously campaigning for is a light to be shone on the parts of funeral directors that perhaps the general public wouldn’t see and may not want to see.

“Generally most funeral directors do a very, very good job, but at the moment there’s still the opportunity for someone to start a business and operate it outside of scrutiny.

“Some large providers have also had to open additional locations, in many respects they bucked the trend when lots of things were consolidating and going down to one location.”

There are are no statutory rules or regulations that funeral directors are required to follow in the UK.

Funeral directors can voluntarily become members of industry bodies such as the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF).

However firms can choose opt not to take part in this voluntary regulation and can operate without scrutiny.

Andrew also acknowledged that there’s an increased interest in peeping behind the curtain of the death industry – but only relating to others.

Andrew said: “As a funeral director people are very interested in it [the industry]. People do want to talk about it but generally in the context of other people, not their own mortality.

“Soap operas now have funeral directors as characters, including Eastenders and Coronation Street, and previously that wasn’t the case.

“That’s another sign of interest that death is part of life.

“My view as a practicing funeral director of nearly 40 years is that the way you care for the dead is a direct indication of the way you care for the living.”

For more information on the study, please visit –


Year  /  number of funeral directors

2014 – 4015

2015 – 4185

2016 – 4200

2017 – 4350

2018 – 4480

2019 – 4620

2020 – 4725

2021 – 4870

2022 – 4755

2023 – 5055

2024 – 5125

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