Live Christmas trees likely to be more expensive this holiday season

Thanks to inflation, you can expect to pay more this holiday season for a live Christmas tree.

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Industry group Real Christmas Tree Board in August surveyed 55 wholesale growers of Christmas trees, who account for about two-thirds of the nationwide supply, and learned that 71% of those surveyed expect to raise the wholesale prices they charge retailers by 5% to 15% compared to 2021. A handful of those surveyed expect their prices to increase by as much as 20%.

In turn, large retail chains unable to absorb the full price increase will likely pass some of the additional costs on to consumers, CNN reported.

“The grower survey tells us demand is healthy. Retailers see steady consumer interest in real Christmas trees and right now supply is pretty well matched to that interest. The majority – 67% of the wholesalers we talked to – said they expect to sell all the trees they plan to harvest this year. In terms of volume, more than half – 55% – said they expect to sell about the same amount of real Christmas trees as they did last year. The balance was divided: Some expect to sell more, some less,” Marsha Gray, the industry group’s executive director, said in a prepared statement.

Although consumer price inflation, which is hovering currently around 8%, has been blamed for the increased prices of everything from gasoline and groceries to furniture and new vehicles, tree farms’ operating costs – covering everything from labor and raw materials to shipping costs – have skyrocketed in 2022.

“Agriculture inflation has far surpassed consumer inflation,” Bob Shaefer, CEO of Noble Mountain Tree Farm, a 4,000 acre wholesale farm in Salem, Oregon, that produces half a million trees a year, told CNN.

“We want to be as reasonable as we can with our prices given these challenges,” Shaefer added, noting that Noble Mountain expects its year-over-year wholesale prices to increase 8% this holiday season.

According to the Real Christmas Tree Board survey, freight and shipping costs, followed by supply chain slowdowns and the impact of inflation on consumer spending, topped concerns for this year’s growers.

“Our trees are primarily transported on trucks. The trucking industry is facing a shortage,” Gray said, adding, “For our farms, they’re all challenged about getting their products from point A to point B for the holiday season and how much more it’s going to cost them.”

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