Christmas tree prices are rising. This is to be expected, as everything gets more expensive every year. The big question is how much more expensive will my tree be this year, and why? The majority of experts agree that natural Christmas tree prices will be about 10 to 15 percent higher this year than last year.
For many families, the ongoing higher prices have made them at alternatives, such as artificial trees. Of the 94 million U.S. households that display a tree, the National Christmas Tree Association, a trade group representing growers, estimates that about 8 in 10 will favor artificial ones this year. But those opting for an artificial tree, will likely still see higher prices as well.
There are a number of reasons why Christmas tree prices are rising. First and foremost, it all comes down to supply and demand. But Christmas tree farmers have also seen increases in a number of growing-related costs that will be passed on to the consumer.
One of the big concerns is that we are facing a Christmas tree shortage this year. Well, that is not exactly the case, even though it has been in years past. The Christmas tree shortage started in 2016, but consumers felt the impact much more starting in 2020. As people were homebound due to the pandemic, there was a surge in demand for trees. As a result, suppliers cut and shipped trees that normally would have been given another year to grow. This resulted in a shortage for the 2021 holiday season, as well as higher prices. This carried through to the 2022 season as well, as the lingering effects of early harvest, combined with drought and wildfire, meant that Christmas trees were harder to find and more expensive in 2022.
Fast forward to 2023, and things have shifted a little bit. It typically takes eight to ten years to grow a Christmas tree, depending on the variety and location, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. As far as trees go, farms are promising there will be an adequate supply of trees this year. There is not an oversupply of trees, but there is enough to go around. One area, however, where availability could be an issue is for those people that want to buy Christmas trees wholesale to resell at tree lots or for fundraisers.
Aside from the supply / demand equation, tree farmers have faced other issues this year which is also raising Christmas tree prices. Rising labor costs have fueled an increase in retail prices for real and artificial trees by as much as 10 percent since last year, according to the American Christmas Tree Association. And the retail trade group’s executive director, Jami Warner, says some live trees could fetch close to $200 this year.
Aside from increased labor costs, the things that impacted prices increases last year will also impact price increases this year. Namely, fertilizer and fuel to grow and transport Christmas trees. The question for farms becomes how much of these increases to the cost of doing business do they pass on to the consumer? With many people already feeling the pinch of increased costs, this could be a make-or-break moment for the natural Christmas tree market.
Christmas tree prices will continue to rise as farmers face labor and production cost increases. The best advice for anyone looking for a tree, whether it is a natural tree or artificial tree, is to shop early. Otherwise, you may be stuck.