When it comes to natural Christmas trees, Americans should brace for more of the same: higher prices.
Escalating production costs and tight supplies of farm-raised trees are the underlying reasons why that evergreen is likely going to cost more this year, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, a trade group for growers.
"We've had a shortage of trees since 2016, and that's still ongoing," Jill Sidebottom, a seasonal spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association, told CBS MoneyWatch.
People might face less of a selection than holidays past, but most folks shouldn't have a problem finding a tree.
"The industry is able to meet the demand of trees. It's not like the pandemic when you went to get toilet paper and were rudely awakened by bare shelves," Sidebottom said.
A majority of 55 wholesale growers in August said they expected to increase prices between 5% and 15% compared with last year, according to survey findings released by the Real Christmas Tree Board.
"Prices will vary in different locations across the country and by tree type and quality," Tim O'Connor, executive director at the National Christmas Tree Association, said by email. "But we do think a 10% price increase is a reasonable estimate of what consumers can expect to pay for a tree in 2022."
"While our grower survey tells us wholesale prices are likely to be higher for real Christmas trees this year, our consumer survey tells us people expected as much," stated Marsha Gray, executive director of the grower-funded group that promotes natural trees and that is overseen by the Department of Agriculture.
That's not surprising given the fiercest inflation in 40 years has only recently showed signs of easing. The Labor Department reported in November thatover the previous year.
Largely because of drought, some trees in certain parts of the U.S. are seeing price hikes of as much as 25%, with the lack of moisture leaving trees unable to grow fast enough in time for the holiday season, CBS Los Angeles reported, citing the American Christmas Tree Association.
Inflation and supply-chain issues are also part of the mix, pushing up the cost of a six-to-eight-foot tall tree at a lot in west Los Angeles to between $150 and $200.
"The good news is, anyone who wants a Christmas tree this year will be able to find one, but the variety in the types ofavailable may be limited," said Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association in a statement.
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