- Fake Christmas trees are threatening the real-Christmas-tree industry.
- But environmentally conscious millennials who are settling down with families are helping fuel demand for real trees on the holidays, Doug Hundley, a seasonal spokesperson with the National Christmas Tree Association, told Business Insider.
- Real Christmas trees are biodegradable and can be reused and recycled.
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There’s at least one industry millennials haven’t killed: real Christmas trees.
Millennials could actually be the saving grace for an industry that is facing a growing threat from fake trees.
Environmentally conscious millennials who are settling down with families are helping fuel demand for real trees during the holidays, Doug Hundley, a seasonal spokesperson with the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), told Business Insider.
“We’re really glad to see the environmentally minded millennial generation joining the group of people who prefer real trees,” Hundley, who worked in the real-Christmas-tree business for 40 years, said. “Because we’ve been losing market share for some time and it’s not because we don’t have the trees.”
More than 95 million American homes had Christmas trees in 2018, at least 75% of which were fake, Hundley said.
Despite the threat from the fake-tree business, demand for real Christmas trees has seen an uptick in the last year. According to data from the NCTA, 32.8 million real Christmas trees were purchased in 2018, up from 27.4 million in 2017. There was also a smaller uptick in fake-tree purchases – from 21.1 million in 2017 to 23.6 million in 2018 – which Hundley attributes to a stable and surging economy.
But the NCTA said the uptick in real tree purchases is related to millennials’ shopping habits.
“The millennials are now settling down and having children and families and they’re looking to let their kids have the experience of using a real tree,”‘ Hundley said.
Millennials are also known to be more environmentally conscious when it comes to their spending. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable and can be reused and recycled, a press release from the NCTA said.
“In today’s world as consumers increasingly seek to reduce the use of plastic straws and plastic bags with their purchasing decisions, choosing a real tree is another way they can make a positive contribution to the environment and their Christmas enjoyment,” the NCTA said in the release.
Environmental aspects aside, the real-tree industry always benefits from a generational evolution, Hundley said.
“It’s a lot of heritage there,” the real-tree expert said of the decades-old tradition of having a Christmas tree in the home. “And I think when people start having kids and wanting to build memories, that’s an increase for us.”