The market for coffins

“Poland is the European superpower of coffin production,” says Zbigniew Lindner…

One way to claw out market share is to rely on girlie calendars of the type usually associated with car parts companies – deflating the solemnity normally associated with the trade. Another is to compete fiercely on price, particularly in the cost-conscious German market…

Now his sights are set on grabbing a larger share of the domestic market, where Polish coffin makers have until recently had a hard slog. One reason is that Poland used to have the highest death benefits in the EU – about €1,350 – which prompted people to plump for more luxurious and expensive Italian coffins. Indeed, the Italian reputation was so strong that the Polish government imported coffins from there to bury the victims of the 2010 airline disaster that killed the president and many other senior officials.

“Most Polish politicians don’t realise what kinds of companies have arisen in Poland and how well they are doing,” says Mr Lindner.

That could change following the government’s decision last year to cut the subsidy by a third – a deficit-fighting idea that has made the bereaved more cost conscious about the price of coffins.

A look at the actuarial tables shows Mr Lindner that death rates will peak by 2040, with more than 1m Germans a year dying as baby boomers shuffle off this mortal coil.

“Somebody has to make those extra coffins and I want it to be us,” he says. “I have plans to turn this into a really big company.”

The article is here, and I thank Adam Sebba for the pointer.


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