Thanksgiving is over as the holiday season ramps up. Households are beginning to transition into the Christmas spirit as they must first purchase a tree and decorate it, but due to several factors, trees (artificial and real) are in short supply.
Christmas tree demand is rising as holiday music on the radio reminds everyone it's time to start decorating the house. Households will have to choose between an artificial and or a real tree this year.
Snarled supply chains at Southern California ports have produced a shortage of artificial trees.
"Every day is a fight to get containers. So, we are fighting against toy manufacturers, electronic manufacturers to get the containers. We have to pay a lot more for those containers," said CEO of National Tree Company Chris Butler.
Butler said US importers of artificial trees are paying ten times more this year than last year in freight costs. "Because of that, we are having to pass on some of those price increases to the consumer," he said.
Consumers could expect to pay a 25% premium for artificial trees versus last year due to snarled supply chains, soaring freight costs, and rising labor costs. Some retail stores and or e-commerce websites might not have adequate supplies due to shipping woes which could drive prices even higher.
A shortage of artificial trees could push more consumers than, on average, to purchase real trees. Many will find out there's also a shortage of real trees.
The Pacific Northwest accounts for a quarter of the national tree supply, and the region's stock is down 10% due to this past summer's wicked heat and drought. On top of that, a 2012 drought fried many seedlings, which also have limited supplies. On average, Christmas trees grow one foot per year. Hence, Christmas trees don't grow overnight.
Then there are the soaring labor and freight costs that could push real tree prices to record highs this year. In 2019, we noted real tree prices hit a record high and could surpass $100 or more this year.
Search trends on Google already show "Christmas tree shortage" is soaring to multi-year highs.
Please don't wait until the very last minute, or perhaps save your money and find a much cheaper substitute tree than buy into the hype. An artificial palm tree with lights works just fine.