Christmas Tree Spending in US Up for Third Straight Year

Americans all across the nation are buying a record number of Christmas trees this year since the recession, spending a total of $3.4 billion on the holiday decoration – a 3.1 percent increase from last year.

In the U.S. alone, residents will spend roughly $800 million for 25 million real trees, while others will spend $2.6 billion on 10 million artificial trees, Bloomberg quoted Nikoleta Panteva, a senior analyst at IBISWorld, as saying.

After seeing a drop in sales in 2008, spending on trees has continually risen for the third consecutive year. Despite the economic downturn, it appears as though Americans are unwilling to let go of their Christmas traditions.

Some consumers have even reported buying not one but two trees this year, looking to decorate several spaces in their home.

The American Christmas Tree Association notes on their website, “Gone are the days when consumers were content with celebrating the holidays with just one Christmas tree as their festive focal point. Increasingly, consumers are choosing to purchase multiple Christmas trees, both real and artificial, to decorate more than one room in their home as well as their outdoor spaces.”

“The two-plus tree household is evidence that the family Christmas tree has evolved into a design feature, both indoor and out, rather than the main traditional decoration during the holiday season,” Jami Warner, executive director of the ACTA, said.

“Because Christmas trees are available in so many different styles that can fit into any space and any budget, there’s really no obstacle to buying a different Christmas tree for every room in the house, as well as the front and back yards.”

Several parents were purchasing two trees, one for their main room and a smaller, more petite one for their children’s bedrooms as well.

With a bright outlook for tree sales, retailers are increasing their supply this year, hoping to meet the growing demand.

The Home Depot, which witnessed tree sales of more than $2 million last year, expects to match if not surpass their sales this season.

Suppliers to large retailers like The Home Depot and Lowe’s are taking larger orders and adding to their customer base, believing that sales for Christmas trees will be stronger this year.

Though retailers appeared to be profiting from the increase in sales, U.S. farmers and suppliers are unfortunately seeing less benefits because of higher costs for labor, fuel and fertilizer.

Bob Schaefer, the general manager of the Noble Mountain Tree Farm in Salem, Oregon, who sells his products to The Home Depot and Wal-Mart, told Bloomberg that he was afraid his company didn’t raise their prices enough on their cut trees, which required a lot of maintenance and labor.

Most suppliers quoted prices earlier in the year, not able to account for an unexpected rise in costs later in the year. “We’re taking a pretty big hit,” Schaefer shared, despite his farm’s increase in wholesale prices, up 7 percent from last year.

Today, there are close to 15,000 farms growing Christmas trees in the United States, employing approximately 100,000 people full or part-time. This week marks National Christmas Tree Week, the first nationwide celebration of the iconic holiday symbol.

The Senate passed a resolution on Nov. 30 declaring the first full week of December as National Christmas Tree Week.

“The Senate ... [encourages] the celebration of Christmas trees during [this] week, reaffirms the environmental benefits of Christmas tree farms and recycled Christmas trees, and celebrates the joy Christmas trees bring to families across the United States,” the resolution states.

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