It’s nearly time to decorate your Christmas tree. Having run a single-answer steer, we established that 37% of consumers intend to put their tree up in the beginning of December and 18% will do so earlier than that. A Daily Mail article from last weekend highlights a handful of celebrities who have already decorated their Christmas trees in order to be able to enjoy the festive spirit for longer.
The endless dispute between fans of real trees and defenders of their artificial imitations still divides people. We ran a single answer steer to establish the current level of popularity of Christmas tree options:
More than half of consumers will reuse their old artificial tree. Undoubtedly this is both the easiest and cheapest thing to do. However, many consumers might not be aware that it’s not the most environmentally friendly option. The Science Focus magazine has estimated that you would have to reuse your artificial tree for twelve years to make it greener than a real tree that was burned after use. It’s likely that the majority of people use the same artificial tree for much less than twelve years. In fact, over 13% will buy a new artificial tree this year alone.
Buying a potted tree is a very sustainable option if consumers keep the plant for future use. For those who will not, there is a rather radical new service in town: living potted tree rental. The Telegraph reported last week that campaigners have urged British people to rent their trees this year from companies which plant them back into the ground after use. Being a novel service, it only attracted 2% of our panel in the steer above, but could it grow in popularity in future?
This depends on various factors, among which price of the service, convenience in the form of easy collection and return, and how effectively it will be marketed. The latter comes down to two things – providing compelling information and targeting the right consumer segment.
Country Living has recently published an article about one such service provider, called Cotswold Fir. Their trees are grown at a farm near Cheltenham throughout the year and collected by customers in the pre-Christmas period. The company founder has explained that many customers take the same tree every year and even name it. Growing at about a foot a year, means families like seeing the tree growing with their children.
Families with children seem to be the most likely target consumer segment. Eight out of ten consumers who picked tree rental in our steer were parents of children under eighteen. As for the story, which providers need to tell, it has to convince consumers that tree rental is a truly sustainable option. A locality that is close to customers’ homes means that no long-distance transportation is required, improving further on sustainability.
Most people would expect that rental is cheaper than purchase. In view of this, how should the service be priced? We ran a reference pricing steer with the following parameters:
The result below highlights that a price of £18.60 would attract most consumers – 44% would rent a tree at this price:
44% of non-rejecters is a positive result that confirms a high potential of the service in future years. Assuming that much more consumers will be able to pick a rental tree from a garden centre near their home, or have it delivered, the Christmas tree market is likely to look very differently in the years to come. The service aligns well with three trends in consumption – the rise of rental culture, increasing eco-consciousness, and the shift from consumption to experience. Watch this space!