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Moving the Needle on Christmas Tree Sales

Industry group shares outlook for 2022 selling season
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Real Christmas Tree Board
Supply and demand will be steady for fresh Christmas trees this season, though growers are facing higher input costs that they will likely pass on.

At a topsy-turvy time marked by inflation, unusual weather events, changing shopper habits and ongoing supply chain glitches, retailers who sell fresh Christmas trees can look forward to an even supply of tannenbaums, even if costs may go up. That’s according to the Real Christmas Tree Board (RCTB), which is out with findings from its annual surveys of wholesale growers and consumers. 

According to the grower survey, the selling season that kicks off around Thanksgiving should mirror last year’s market in terms of available trees. “The real Christmas tree industry met demand last year and it will meet demand this year. This is essentially a year without surprises,” summed up Marsha Gray, executive director of the Howell, Mich.-based RCTB.

As demand from consumers and retailers for fresh trees remains steady, more than two-thirds (67%) of wholesale growers expect to sell all of the trees they’re set to harvest this season. More than half indicate that they expect sales to be similar to last year.

That said, growers are facing increasing costs of their own. All grower respondents agreed that their input costs have risen since last season. More than a third (36%) reported hikes between 11% and 15%, while 27% said that their cost increase has ranged from 16% to 20% and a quarter said that costs have climbed as much as 10% since 2021. A smaller 10% portion of tree farmers indicated that their cost increase exceeded 21%.

Accordingly, although supplies remain steady, many growers expect to raise their wholesale prices. Most growers (71%) anticipate a wholesale price boost between 5% and 15% over 2021. On the flip side, less than 2% report that they are not planning a price lift.

Growers are also keenly aware that consumers are likely to be mindful of their budgets this year, as inflation continues to pack a punch. Behind the concern of supply chain slowdowns and logistics, the impact of inflation of consumers came in as the second most concerning issue among tree farmers.

“While our grower survey tells us wholesale prices are likely to be higher for real Christmas trees this year, our consumer survey tells us people expected as much,” noted Gray. “The good news is fans of real Christmas trees say they believe the trees are worth the price and they are willing to pay more this year if necessary to get one – and that’s not a surprise either.”

First chartered in 2015, The Christmas Tree Promotion Board has been renamed this year to "Real Christmas Tree Board." The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides oversight of the RCTB to ensure transparency, accuracy, and fairness in its communications.

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