Christmas-Tree Prices

December 17, 2008

by Sandy Ikeda

Thought I’d take a little break from coffee and write about Christmas trees.

A few days ago, I went with my family to purchase a tree from our usual neighborhod suppliers.  As we walked over to their corner I announced that this year’s eight-foot Frasier fur would likely cost us $10 less than last year’s.  (Incidentally, there seem to be more ways to spell that name than almost any other that I know of — e.g., Frazor, Frasor, Frazier, Frasure, Frazure, Fraisor….)

I based my prediction on two factors:  the current state of the economy and that a new tree-selling competitor set up shop just across the street from our guys.

Well, we ended up paying $10 more for a seven-and-a-half-footer!  (This is a good example of how even in the midst of, I believe a temporary, deflation not all prices need be falling.)  One of the guys explained to me that they do better during recessions because people, in our Brooklyn neighborhood at least, cut back on travel during the Holidays and spend a little more on things like trees.

I’m wondering, are other people paying significantly more this year at their locations?  Is this merely a local phenomeon?  Are Christmas trees really inferior goods?

6 Responses to “Christmas-Tree Prices”

  1. Mario Rizzo Says:

    I saw a Christmas tree in the Village for $6.95. It was small. I predict that is what you’ll be buying next year if economic policies don’t improve.

  2. Russell Says:

    I finally convinced my wife to buy a fake tree this year. $68 at Walmart, which is about what I’ve paid for a real tree each of the past 15 years.

    And, it’s actually a nice looking tree. Just as nice, and I think better, than some of the $300 trees I saw at other stores.

  3. Jock Phillips Says:

    In DC I went to my go-to neighborhood spot and payed roughly the same price for a somewhat smaller tree than last year. On the whole, prices appeared to be up. My thought was simply that they raised prices in anticipation of fewer sales with the hope that those who would be buying from them would be either ambivalent to the price hike or simply loyal to their business. However, this is a location with 3 tree sellers in as many blocks, so it would be interesting to see what the other sellers have done.


  4. Last I looked, a live Christmas tree is a consumer good.

    Since according to Austrian theory, a “downturn” in the economy is a re-adjustment in the savings-consumption ratio in favor of consumption, a climb in the price of a consumption good should not come as a surprise.

  5. Sandy Ikeda Says:

    Russell,
    You seem to have identified a growing trend, according to this MSNBC story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28281454/.

    Robert,
    You make an interesting point about Xmas trees being lower-order goods and all that, but clothing and other consumer-goods stores are all offering almost unprecedented deep and early discounts on their wares. So how does ABCT explain these differences?

  6. gcallah Says:

    Right, Sandy. My wife just bought a coat that would have cost her $200 last year for $48.


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