There are many trends and traditions to enjoy this holiday season, and I think some are going to get even bigger in 2018. Here are my predictions:
The Ugly Christmas Sweater is becoming more popular with every year. Ugly Christmas sweaters is a rapidly-growing segment of spending, growing 200% between 2012 and 2015, and that number is expected to continue to increase as the trend grows in popularity – but they’re not the only “ugly” trend. Ugly produce is also becoming a popular trend, attracting people who want to eat well and save money.
People spend a lot of money decorating their homes for the holidays, and home décor is going to continue to be a big spending area as more Gen Zers graduate from college and start setting up their first homes. We’re going to spend more dressing the inside and outside of our homes. Spending on holiday home decor rose nearly 10% this past Halloween. We’ll repeat that for Christmas. Outdoor holiday decorations are more popular than ever. While not everyone is putting up 250 strands of lights, 45% of consumers will decorate their home and yard and 45 million trees will go up in homes around the country.
Year-Round Indoor Trees
Speaking of Christmas trees, there are 350 million currently growing on Christmas Tree farms. About 35 million live trees are sold each year, but it can take 7 years for a tree to reach maturity. An additional 10 million artificial trees are sold each year. Over $1 billion is spent on live Christmas trees each year, and $685 million is spent on artificial trees. Around 16% of us cut our own tree, à la Chevy Chase, while a small percentage – 1.5% – order a live tree online to be delivered. I’m predicting the popularity of artificial trees will continue to grow (pardon the pun). They are easier to pick out, cut down, transport, decorate, and clean up after. And we don’t have to lug them outside; we can just pack them away for the next year. More and more of us will be leaving the artificial trees out all year, and we’ll just change the decorations to match the season. By the time Christmas is over, we can be decorating our artificial trees with hearts and flowers for Valentine’s Day and pastel flowers and bunnies for Easter.
This is not a prediction of the stock market or how many months of cash we’ll keep in reserve, but of what will be more and more popular as the number-one gift. Gift cards are the most popular gift this holiday season. We’ll spend nearly $1000 this year on the holiday gifts. Retailers expect a 3-4% increase in Christmas sales for 2017 – around $682 billion in spending. 41% of those purchases will be gift cards, but cash is more convenient: There is no fee to buy it; there is no expiration date. Banks don’t run out of inventory, and bots aren’t buying it all up and selling it for ten times the original price on Amazon or eBay.
Whether you are baking cookies, wearing an ugly sweater, singing carols, or traveling to some of the best Christmas markets in the world, may you find many ways to enjoy the holiday season.