Christmas tree shortage set to raise prices The popular Nordmann Fir may cost more this year

01 December 2010

A Christmas tree

Choose the perfect Christmas tree

The price of the UK's favourite Christmas tree will rise this year because of a Europe-wide shortage, growers are predicting. 

The Nordmann Fir is in short supply because of a combination of a strong euro and a harsh frost last winter. A 6ft tree will probably cost around £40 this year, compared with £37 last year. 

Christmas tree supplies

Around a million Nordmann Firs are exported to Britain from Denmark and Norway each year but this Christmas, fewer than 200,000 are expected. This is because of a strong euro - meaning growers are less keen to sell in the UK - and last year’s harsh winter, which frost-damaged trees.

Many British farmers are exporting trees to Europe, where the strong euro means they can earn 30% more.

Roger Hay, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, told Which? Gardening: 'Customers may find Nordmann Firs are more expensive this year as the shortage will give retailers the opportunity to increase the prices.'

Cheap Christmas trees

Sales of real trees have risen in the last 10 years – 8m were sold last year compared with 6m in 2000. In real terms, most Christmas trees are cheaper than they were 10 years ago as price increases have been below the rate of inflation.

Nordmann Firs are popular because they hold their needles well, but there are other options. A Norway spruce is the cheapest type – around £25 for a 6ft tree. A container-grown tree - around £40 to £50 - can be economical in the long-run as you can reuse it for several years. 

Chain store John Lewis has told Which? that its sales of artificial trees - 17 different types - are currently up 81% on last year. A spokesman said: 'We have seen lots of customers investing in a second tree to enable them to have more than one style.' 

Prices of these trees at John Lewis range from £15 to £195.

Our guide to buying a Christmas tree has more on the pros and cons of each type, as well as advice on how to get the best from your tree. 

What's the best eco choice?

Nearly all our Christmas trees are grown in the UK. A recent North American study has shown that in terms of CO2 emissions, a real tree is definitely better than an artificial one.

You'd need to keep an artificial tree for as long as possible to minimise its environmental impact – around 20 years if possible.