Bri­tain spruces up

Gi­ant tree sales soar as fam­i­lies seek to im­press on so­cial me­dia

Scottish Daily Mail - - New Blitz on Terror - By Sean Poul­ter Con­sumer Af­fairs Ed­i­tor

For years, a bushy lit­tle spruce wrapped in tin­sel and topped with a star was all that was needed to usher in the Christ­mas spirit.

But now, many fam­i­lies are opt­ing for pre-lit, su­per­size, ar­ti­fi­cial trees of up to nine feet tall – all to outdo each other on so­cial me­dia.

Sales sta­tis­tics from John Lewis sug­gest peo­ple want to dress their homes with tow­er­ing trees, de­signed to im­press the neigh­bours and to look good on In­sta­gram. Fig­ures show a boom in de­mand for trees which are ready­dressed with hun­dreds of LED lights – so they can be pulled out of the loft, put up and switched on in a mat­ter of min­utes.

Ten years ago, the re­tailer’s most pop­u­lar ar­ti­fi­cial trees were a mod­est 4ft tall – but the best seller is now 7ft, and some cus­tomers even plump for 9ft ver­sions as a cen­tre­piece for the fes­tiv­i­ties.

Dan Cooper, head Christ­mas buyer at John Lewis, said: ‘Ar­ti­fi­cial trees have grown in qual­ity and pop­u­lar­ity, and be­come sev­eral feet taller... pre-lit trees are on-trend and this year for the first time they have over­taken un-lit trees.’ And dec­o­rat­ing the fes­tive giants has un­der­gone a revo­lu­tion, with tra­di­tional adorn­ments such as stars and an­gels ditched in favour of showy, state­ment baubles.

Mr Cooper said they now sell ‘over 400 dif­fer­ent types of bauble’ and that the best sell­ers are ‘not tra­di­tional Christ­mas baubles but birds, foxes and di­nosaurs’. He said tastes have be­come ‘so much more ad­ven­tur­ous and so­phis­ti­cated’, with cus­tomers mov­ing away from the ‘thin bit of red or gold tin­sel mixed with some round baubles’ to­wards more per­son­alised dec­o­ra­tions.

And the showi­ness of the fes­tive season does not stop with trees and dec­o­ra­tions. Ad­vent cal­en­dars are in­creas­ingly of­fer­ing ev­ery­thing from minia­ture bot­tles of gin to cos­met­ics – re­plac­ing the tra­di­tional choco­late.

Mr Cooper added: ‘These changes have been driven by a grow­ing cul­ture of en­ter­tain­ing, In­sta­gram and in­no­va­tion in Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions which have be­come much higher in qual­ity... mak­ing us more likely to in­vest in them.’

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