A survey done by the real Christmas Tree Board in September found 94% of people planning to buy a real tree said their piney scent brings them joy, but the cost of that joyful smell may put some people back more this year.
The same industry group surveyed wholesale growers, with 25% saying they expected to raise wholesale prices between 5% and 15% this year — though that's down from 71% of growers last year.
A total of 48% of wholesalers surveyed said they planned to increase prices by 5% or less, with more than a quarter of growers saying they wouldn't increase prices at all. Industry experts say artificial trees should be about the same price on average because of resolved supply chain issues.
"On the artificial side, costs are actually about the same as last year," said Mac Harman, founder of Balsam Hill and a member of the American Christmas Tree Association. "On the real tree side, we're seeing prices up just a little bit. And I think that's largely driven by fuel prices."
The American Christmas Tree Association says trees can cost anywhere from $25 to $2,500, with the average price of a six-foot fresh tree at around $80. The same size averages $100 for an artificial tree.
Once the growers sell to retailers, those sellers can slap on their own price increases. Prices for fresh trees vary across the country as most trees come from locally sourced farms with different growing conditions and other factors.
"If you're going to a family farm, that's a choose-your-own farm, they may have more expensive real estate costs, especially if you live in a high income area," Harman said. "But you won't have those fuel charges other than putting the fuel in your own car to get there."
If you want the fresh Christmas tree scent without the cost, most national forests allow people to cut their own tree, but you'll need a permit.
Harman says every year the industry sees more people switching to artificial trees, with 77% of American households expected to decorate a fake tree this year. He says his company has also seen consumers buying decorations that seem to correlate with Taylor Swift fandom, with red and gold accents topping Balsam Hill's decor sales this year.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com