December 15, 2019
Based on data published by the National Christmas Tree Association, sales of Christmas trees - real and artificial combined – will top 60 million for the first time ever in 2019. Consumer demand was especially strong in 2018, driving up total tree sales by 16%, to 56.4 million. So the stage is set for overall Christmas tree sales to top 60 million in 2019 if sales grow by 7 percent this year. Based on recent trends, a record-setting year seems almost certain.
Real (natural) tree sales were flat from 2016 to 2017, at 27.4 million, according to the association, but jumped a whopping 20% in 2018, hitting 32.8 million. Another 5 percent increase this year would put annual sales at 34.4 million.
Meanwhile, artificial trees have enjoyed double-digit sales growth over each of the last three years, expanding by 49, 13, and 12 percent annually. In 2018, 23.6 million “fake” trees were sold, according to the association. This implies that artificials accounted for 40, 44 and 42 percent of overall tree sales for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018. So even if the fake-tree growth rate slips to 10 percent in 2019, tree-count will hit 26 million. Summing the figures – 34.4 million real trees and 26 million artificial trees – produces the result of 60.4 million to be sold in 2019 – an all-time record.
Artificial trees achieved a 40% share of total Christmas tree sales for the first time in 2016, peaked at 44 percent in 2017, then declined slightly to 42% last year, when real-tree sales spiked 20%. From 2004 to 2011, artificial trees captured 27% of the total market, on average. Their share averaged 32% from 2012 through 2015, then jumped to 42% over the past three years.
These market-share gains for artificial trees are attributed to steady improvement in the industry’s ability to deliver to consumers more realistic-looking replicas, coupled with rising demand for consumer convenience. In addition, farmers in North Carolina and Oregon – two major tree-producing states - have shifted focus from growing Christmas trees to other crops, due to concerns over climate change and shifting consumer tastes, driving up the cost of natural trees.
Meanwhile, Christmas tree farmers and manufacturers debate which variety is greener. Growers point out that the primary raw material used to make artificial trees, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is considered a dangerous pollutant. In response, makers of fake trees point to the unsavory aspects of growing and moving to market tens of millions of real trees each year, including pesticide and fertilizer runoff and carbon emissions.
This nature news update is presented by the Butcher Block Co., whose online-only store sells such wood-based home products as butcher block and plank-style counter and island tops, kitchen tables and carts, cutting boards, and more.
For more information, please visit Butcher Block Co.
Name: Kathleen Grodsky
Organization: Butcher Block Co.
Address: 10448 N 21st Pl Phoenix, Arizona 85028
Phone: (877) 845-5597