An article in the WSJ reports that Evercore ISI has been tracking Christmas tree sales since 2003 as a means of gauging consumer confidence in the economy:
Mr. Sloterbeck [head of company surveys at Evercore ISI] polls regional Christmas tree associations, farmers and retailers around the U.S. to get a sense of how the holiday shopping season is doing. He tracks thousands of Christmas tree sales. With people willing and able to spend nicely on Christmas trees, as well as wreaths and garlands, the assumption is they might also spend plentifully on gifts. A healthy jobs market, rising wages and low gas prices offer ripe conditions for a strong holiday season.
Per the article, towards the conclusion of 2016, Sloterbeck’s data showed a 10% increase over the prior year, which at the time was the largest increase since the firm began collecting this data.