Artificial Christmas Trees – Spending on Christmas trees in the U.S. will rise 3.1 percent this year to $3.4 billion, the highest since before the recession gutted retail sales in 2008, as demand and prices increase, researcher IBIS World said.
Americans will spend about $800 million for 25 million real trees and another $2.6 billion on 10 million artificial versions during the holiday season, Nikoleta Panteva, a senior analyst at Los Angeles-based IBISWorld, said in an interview.
“We expect strong tree sales this year and strong holiday sales overall,” said Jean Niemi, a spokeswoman for Atlanta- based Home Depot Inc., the world’s largest home-improvement retailer and the biggest seller of cut trees. “History shows us that even in a down economy, the Christmas tradition isn’t one that families part with.”
Spending on real and artificial Christmas trees is up for a third straight year after plunging almost 11 percent in 2008, when the global economy sunk into its worst recession since World War II, according to IBISWorld. Consumer confidence jumped last month by the most since 2003, and the unemployment rate in November was at a 32- month low. The National Retail Federation says U.S. retail sales reached a record during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, signaling consumers aren’t cutting back on holiday purchases.
In 2008, Americans spent $3.14 billion on trees, down from $3.51 billion in 2007, as the recession erased $27.9 trillion in the value of global equities and unemployment in the U.S. was headed to the highest level in almost three decades. Retail sales in the U.S. plunged in December 2008 to the lowest in more than three years.
Sales Optimism”We’ve heard optimism from both wholesale and choose-and- cut growers,” said Rick Dungey, a spokesman at the National Christmas Tree Association. “They think the number of trees purchased might be more this year than last year.”
Some retailers are increasing Christmas trees and supplies in anticipation of stronger sales this year. Home Depot expects to at least match last year’s tree sales of more than 2 million, Niemi said.
The tradition of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas is claimed to have started Livonia and in Germany in the 16th century. The Christmas tree is sometimes called a Yule tree, particularly by those who wish to avoid Christian connections, but others explicitly distinguish between the two or identify the Yule tree with an undecorated evergreen tree.