Artificial trees are real deal as only one in seven people may buy a real Christmas tree
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Friday 23 November 2012
Only one in seven people may buy a real Christmas tree this year, new research shows.
Thirteen per cent of the public told the consumer group that they were considering buying a real tree chopped at the trunk, for which they expected to pay an average of £33.
Almost half of people, 49 per cent, were thinking of buying a “realistic” artificial tree.
Real Christmas trees have risen in price in recent years because of a Europe-wide shortage of the traditional Nordmann fir tree - which accounts for 80 per cent of UK Christmas tree sales.
Over the last five years, the price of Christmas trees has doubled, according to professional buyers. At the same time, there has been a squeeze on household finances, making real Christmas trees increasingly unaffordable.
Which?’s research found that the shape (93 per cent), size (91 per cent) and price (90 per cent) of a tree were the most important factors for consumers.
It suggested that hard-pressed consumers could still conserve their money by shopping around for Christmas food and drink. In its taste tests, Sainsbury’s Blanc de Noirs champagne (£20.99) was rated better than more expensive Moët & Chandon (£31.99). The best Christmas puddings were, respectively, Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Cognac Laced Christmas Pudding (£12), Aldi’s Luxury 12 Month Matured Specially Selected Christmas Pudding (£6.99) and Tesco’s Finest Christmas Pudding with Courvoisier VS Cognac (£7.99).
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “At the end of a really tough year for household finances, our research shows that people can still enjoy the best food and drink at Christmas without breaking the bank.”
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