As we consider the future (the next 6 to 10 years) in the Christmas tree industry, we are faced with an unusual dilemma, how to strike a balance between price and demand in our markets. On one hand supply seems to be short that only increases demand and naturally prices. The question would be how much?
Three things we might want to consider is first the producer (who has been suffering from low prices and higher costs with little to no profits), the retailer (that has some of the same problems but still is showing some profits), as well as the consumer (that not surprisingly has similar problems, not all markets such as more affluent neighbourhoods but in lower middle class areas, with less of a disposable income).
As an industry, we need better prices to survive but again the question is how much? Let’s examine what the consumer is faced with. Their choices are between real or artificial. If they hopefully opt out of artificial (price would be a factor of course) then the consumer would look at three things. Size, quality, price and service.
As growers and shippers, we must be aware of the retailer and the consumer. First the quality must be consistent and precise. To justify any price increases quality must be maintained. To add value service is a huge opportunity for the retailer as well as the shipper. Some examples are availability of a real fresh premium product for the higher-end market resulting in premium prices. Other services that I have personal knowledge of is home delivery and set up for hard working families who want a real tree but haven’t the time during the Christmas season to have the experience for their families.
I hope as an industry, we can continue to maintain and raise the reputation of our products and services in the future without turning off the consumer, while increasing a profitable market share going forward.
Norman Mac Isaac