Christmas tree farms across the country are experiencing a decline in sales as consumers have increasingly turned to artificial trees that are mostly imported from China. The National Christmas Tree Association reports that U.S. consumers have been choosing artificial trees over real trees by 2 to 1 margin (NCTA 2015). The national decline in live tree market share has had a significant impact on Indiana Christmas tree growers. The number of Indiana Christmas tree farms with sales declined by 40% between 2002 and the last Census in 2012, and the number of Christmas trees harvested in Indiana has declined by 55% since 2007.
Thus, Indiana Christmas tree growers are challenged by an increasingly competitive marketplace on two fronts: 1) consumers have increasingly turned to artificial Christmas trees instead of real ones, and 2) consumers are buying live trees from large retail chains that import trees from other states.To address this problem, we partnered with the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association to better understand Indiana consumer decision-making and trends in order to fill knowledge gaps between prospective buyers and growers. We collected data from Indiana Christmas tree growers to develop producers’ capacity and expand the long-term viability for Christmas tree growers in Indiana, as well as data from Indiana consumers to better understand trends in Christmas tree purchasing.
This research, entitled, Strengthening Indiana Christmas Tree Farms and Growers: A Framework for the Future, was funded by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant.
Project Team: James Farmer, Analena Bruce, Dana Dull, Lucas Dull, and John Norris
Grant Partners: Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association