Supply Chain Issues and Weather Causes Shortage of Real and Fake Christmas Trees

by Taylor Cunningham
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If you’re planning to deck the halls this holiday season, you better head out and buy your Christmas trees soon.

Thanks to bad weather and supply chain issues, the U.S. is facing a Christmas tree shortage—for both real and fake varieties. Because of that, the American Christmas Tree Association is urging consumers to buy their trees sooner rather than later. So if you needed an excuse to decorate early this year, now you have one.

“Every year, we pay close attention to factors impacting the Christmas tree industry so that we can help guide consumers in choosing the right Christmas tree,” said ACTA Executive Director Jami Warner. “In 2021, we’re seeing a variety of trends influencing artificial and live Christmas tree supply across the country, and are encouraging consumers to find their tree early this year to avoid shortage impacts.” 

National Tree Company CEO Chris Butler echoed that sentiment while chatting with CNBC yesterday. He believes that the demand for trees will be “extremely strong” this year. And by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, people will see “a lot of empty shelves.”

“I think from a consumer perspective, people definitely shouldn’t wait [to buy a tree],” he said. “…We’re seeing pretty strong growth right now already versus last year and so, I do think that we’re in for a big, big season this year.”

Extreme Weather and Supply Chain Issues Are Affecting Christmas Tree Sales This Holiday Season

Inventory levels for both real and fake trees are affected this year, but for different reasons.

For live trees, extreme weather is to blame. Christmas tree farms in the Pacific Northwest have been significantly impacted by droughts, heat waves, and wildfires. The situation has become so grave that some farmers in Oregon have reported a 90% loss in crops this year. And because most trees are grown in that region, stores across the country as seeing fewer shipments.

And if you can’t find a live tree, don’t bank of using an artificial tree as a backup. Stores are struggling to keep up with the demands of fake trees because of the ever-growing supply chain crisis. And because people are having trouble finding live trees, that demand is usually high this year.

And, of course, when supply drops and demand rises, prices rise, too. So even if you luck out and find a tree closer to Christmas, it will likely cost a lot more money.

“We hope that every person who wants a Christmas tree will find their perfect tree this year,” Butler said. “If I can give one piece of advice to consumers right now, it is to find and buy your Christmas tree early. “

Outsider.com