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Data Under the Tree: Part 1 (Factory or Forest?)


With the Christmas season in full swing, we decided to take a look at some of the changing American behaviors surrounding our annual December festivities.

To do this, StrategyOne conducted some brief national survey research (n=1,000 adults Dec. 4-7, 2009) on a range of holiday topics. We'll be putting one piece of data under the virtual tree each day this week.

Let's begin with the Christmas tree. (Note: My firm has no business interest in either side of this debate.)

In 2009, Americans' Christmas trees are more likely to come from a factory and not a forest.

Our research finds that 55% of Americans now put up an artificial tree and 24% put up a real tree. 8% will have both in their home this holiday season. 13% report either not putting up a tree or not celebrating Christmas.

Interestingly, when you add the 24% saying they will purchase a farm grown tree with the 8% that say they will put up both, our data (32%) comes within 3 points of the National Christmas Tree Association's 2009 survey.

But how does this relate to past years?

Fortunately, we have trend data going back to 1989 from Gallup.

Reviewing this data shows a long term decline in real Christmas trees in the home.

See below (Data is among those who celebrate Christmas and have a Christmas tree):

1989 40% (artificial) 52% (real) 8% (both)
1994 49% (artificial) 51% (real) NA (both)
2004 58% (artificial) 37% (real) 5% (both)
2009 63% (artificial) 28% (real) 9% (both)

The decline of the real Christmas tree over the past 20 years is significant and the tipping point seems to have occurred somewhere between 1994 and 2004.

The region with the most affinity for real trees appears to be the Northeast (33% real), higher than the upper Midwest (21%), the South (21%) or the West (26%).

As one might expect, there is a straight line correlation between household income and the ownership of a genuine Christmas tree. Only 16% of households making less than $35,000 have a real Christmas tree in their homes this season. Among households making over $100,000 this number rises to 34%.

Tomorrow we'll take a look at what Americans have on top of those trees. It's the great Star vs. Angel debate...


 

Comments
yokem55:

I watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special on DVD last night, and I think if Charles Schultz saw these numbers, he would be rolling in his grave. Granted I'm the type that thinks buying a farm tree off a lot represents over-commercialized back-sliding. Real real Christmas tree lovers pay the forest service $5 and go out into the woods and cut a tree down with a manual saw...

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