We conducted a review of 250 customers and 40 other outlets within UK and Ireland post Christmas. Feedback from these sources indicate that sales across the country were broadly similar to 2016 levels.
Heavy snow in mid-December throughout central England accounted for loss of sales in some centres and they found it difficult to recover in the build up to Christmas. Most sales seemed to be in early December and demand for real trees seemed to slow significantly after December 17th
Promotional offers from the discounters to drive footfall was evident. Prices of £19.99 for a 160-190cm low grade Nordmann were commonplace, but not supported by a lowering of supplier prices. This leads to the assumption that this strategy to drive footfall was at the expense of margin.
Many centres reported an increase in local pop-up sites offering their usual low grade cheap Nordmann. They didn’t really affect the sales of high quality Christmas trees. There will be a glut of poor quality Nordmann from Scotland again in 2018. Many smaller growers who failed to link into a professional supply chain will also be selling to discounters and pop-ups sellers again this year.
Sales of Norway Spruce along with poor to average quality of other varieties, have notably declined.
In spite of this increased competition, most of Emerald’s customers sold the majority of their trees. This confirms that many consumers know what they want and, are willing to pay for a neat well shaped Nordmann Christmas tree.