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Christmas tree prices, whether for faux or real ones, are rising this holiday season as inflation spills over into decorations. How bad? Expect to pay anywhere from 5 to 15 percent more.
“Christmas trees are no different than any other consumer product,” says Marsha Gray, executive director of the Real Christmas Tree Board. “Everything is seeing inflation.”
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As of October, prices for consumer goods are up 7.7 percent compared to a year earlier, as lingering supply chain issues and elevated input costs (expenses businesses incur to run operations) are driving prices higher.
Seventy-one percent of Christmas tree growers surveyed by the Real Christmas Tree Board this fall said they expect wholesale prices to increase between 5 and 15 percent in 2022. Some of that is being passed on to consumers. The median average for a real fir, pine or spruce tree was $69.50 in 2021. Assuming a 10 percent increase, consumers will spend $76.45 this year.
On the faux side, prices are up on average between 7 and 10 percent for medium- and high-quality artificial trees, and flat year-over-year at the lower end of the market, says Mac Harman, CEO and founder of Balsam Hill, a Christmas tree and holiday decor retailer. At the sub-$300 price point, however, Harman says consumers are getting less for more. ”Quality has been taken out of the moderately priced trees,” Harman says. “There are fewer lights, fewer branches or a tree is 6 inches narrower.”
Why do some trees cost more than others?
There are several reasons Christmas tree prices vary for both artificial and real ones. Location is a big factor if you’re shopping for a real tree. People who live in regions that don’t grow trees pay more because of transportation and labor costs. The farther away, the more you’ll pay. Buying a Christmas tree in New York City could set you back at least $100. If you’re in a grower state like North Carolina it’s around $70 and up.
The size of the tree is another factor, with height dictating how much you pay. “If you are looking for an 8-foot tree and buy a tree one foot shorter or taller, it’s a big difference in price,” Gray says.
The choice of species also comes into play. Types of trees are priced differently, whether it’s a spruce or a fir. Some have to be trucked a greater distance or are in more demand, which will make them more expensive than others, says Gray.
On the faux side, prices are based on what the tree is made of, whether it comes lit and its height. The more realistic it looks, the taller it is and the more technology is built into it, the pricier it will be.