Christmas tree sales are up this year – thanks to Millennials
Beau Coan experienced "the best
year we've ever had" for Christmas tree sales this year.
Papa Noël Christmas Trees - with
eight locations between Austin and San Antonio, Texas - nearly sold
out of its roughly 11,000-tree inventory by Thursday, its final day
of sales, Coan said. That marks a 3 to 4 percent increase
in sales from 2017.
Coan's success in 2018 is not isolated. According
to financial services and mobile payment company Square Inc., the
number of Christmas trees sold this year is up about 10
percent compared to 2017, based on over 1,000 Christmas tree
sellers who use the company's payment technology.
Why have businesses seen an increase? The main
answer lies with one age group: Millennials.
Though often mocked, the generation of
people born between 1981 and 1996 are helping Christmas tree
businesses thrive, said Tim O'Connor, executive director of the
National Christmas Tree Association.
"Our members are saying everyday that they're
getting more of these younger families," O'Connor said.
"Transitioning to a younger customer is a critical juncture."
One of the Papa Noël Christmas Trees lots in Texas. (Photo: Beau Coan, Papa Noël Christmas
There are several reasons why Millennials might
be more likely to purchase a real Christmas tree over artificial
one. For starters, they tend to be more environmentally conscious
than other generations, Coan said.
"The Christmas tree industry really tries to go
the extra mile to educate the public and to educate our customer
base about the sustainability of Christmas tree farming," he
In 2017, the National Christmas Tree
Association found adults purchased
27.4 million real Christmas trees. Meanwhile, 21.1 million new fake
trees were purchased in 2017.
Though O'Connor said he couldn't confirm Square's
data, since the National Christmas Tree Association won't conduct
its survey until January, he noted the numbers seem to be
consistent with what he's heard from other Christmas tree
Millennials also might lean toward
non-artificial Christmas trees because of their focus on
"real" objects, said O'Connor, who pointed to that generation's
drive for things like organic foods.
Buying a real Christmas tree "matches up with
what they're doing in the rest of their lives," O'Connor said.
Beyond "real" objects, Millennials also value
real experiences, said Ken Reeves, owner of Mountain Creek
Tree Farm in Concord, Ohio. Of his about 2,000-tree inventory,
Reeves has sold nearly 70 percent, with his final day of sales this
Sunday - a better season than usual, he said.
For millennials, "there's decidedly a preference
towards non-artificial" trees, Reeves said, "because they
don't want an artificial experience."
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Written by: Ben Tobin, USA Today
Friday, December 21, 2018