Study finds real Christmas tree sales steady, but buying habits shifting
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Study finds real Christmas tree sales steady, but buying habits shifting

Nearly 18 percent of Americans buy a real tree for the holidays.

December 19, 2018
Edited by Matt McClellan

More than 95 million U.S. households will celebrate the 2018 holiday season by displaying a Christmas tree, according to the eighth annual Christmas tree survey from the American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA) conducted by Nielsen.

Eighty-two percent of the Christmas trees displayed will be artificial and 17.9 percent will be real trees, according to the survey.

"We are delighted to report that Christmas trees, both real and artificial, continue to be a highlight of the holiday season for so many across the country," said Jami Warner, executive director of ACTA.

"Consumers have so many wonderful types of trees to choose from and at all price points," said Warner. "There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing your Christmas tree. "Family traditions and holiday memories can be made with any tree, be it classic, green, flocked, upside down, table-top, mini or majestic," Warner said.

"Many consumers are choosing to display multiple Christmas trees and more than one type," she added. "Why not spread the joy of the holidays by decorating our homes with the many types, colors, species, shapes and sizes of trees now so widely available?" Warner said.

"After all, it's not what kind of Christmas tree you have, it's who's around it," she added.

This holiday season, more U.S. consumers are opting to pick up their real Christmas tree from home improvement chains, mass retailers, and grocery stores – and less from traditional tree farms and lots, according to the survey.

"Consumers are increasingly choosing convenience," Warner said. "While many families still enjoy the Christmas tradition of picking out their real Christmas tree from a tree farm or lot, more have shifted to purchasing the tree from national retailers rather than local tree farms and tree lots."

The 2018 Nielsen survey data showed that the number of consumers who plan to display a real tree is generally steady, down 0.4 percent versus 2017. Purchases from mass/discount chains, home improvement/DIY centers, and grocery stores are up a combined 2.25 percent over 2017 while purchases from tree farms and tree lots are down 1.42 percent versus last year.

"The Christmas season can be stressful for shoppers and perhaps they find one-stop shopping easier. This comes as a loss to the thousands of local tree farms and tree lots that depend on making sales to individual consumers this time of year," Warner said.

"We're glad that families are creating traditions and holiday memories by decorating the Christmas tree together, whether real or artificial or bought from a tree farm, tree lot, home improvement store, or even online," said Warner. "We will continue to monitor these shifts in consumer behavior and report on them in the future.