Sales For Real Christmas Trees See A Boost Thanks To Millennials
Of the many tried-and-true American industries that millennials are accused of ruining, it appears that a real Christmas tree is not one of them.
2018 was another year of strong sales for the nation's 15,000 Christmas tree growers, who between 2005 and 2015 saw falling prices due to a weak economy and oversupply.
That's due in part to millennial consumers who, unlike baby boomers, aren't impressed by artificial trees, said Doug Hundley with the National Christmas Tree Association.
"From what we know of millennials and their trends, they like organic," Hundley said. "They like buying local."
Growers across the country have shared how they're catering to these young customers, many of whom now have young families, he added.
Derek Mullen of Everitt Farms in Lakewood, Colorado, said he's seen a large share of his sales driven by social media, as young people post holiday photos with their newly-bought tree. His rustic tree lot, a family homestead from the 1870s, has also served as the backdrop to many family holiday photos.
"We see a lot of selfies and a lot of people who ... want to be part of the tree buying experience and they really want to understand where the trees come from," Mullen said.
Mullen belongs to a small co-op of tree farmers and receives product from North Carolina, Oregon and Washington. The appeal of a real tree is similar to trends in farm-to-table eating, he said.
"People just want to have a deeper connection to where their agricultural products come from," Mullen said. "The fact that we can say, 'Well it came from this farm,' ... people just really love the story."
In Mullen's sixth season selling trees, he said he's found that each year a larger portion of his sales are done via electronic payments, as opposed to cash. Like many growers, he's now anticipating how he can continue to attract millennial consumers in the coming years, perhaps with more elaborate photo backdrops with a sleigh or a set of hay bales complete with live goats and ponies.