Summary of our market study

The Christmas tree market in France is characterized by a strong preference for natural trees, especially the popular Nordmann fir which dominates over 50% of the market by volume. Annually, nearly 5 million households, along with various local authorities and businesses, contribute to the purchasing pool. Despite this preference, the market still includes less than 20% of sales in artificial trees. Sales of Christmas trees are highly seasonal and concentrated in a limited timeframe each year.

Distribution is largely facilitated by supermarkets and specialized garden centers, which collectively account for over a third of natural fir sales and a significant portion of artificial tree sales. The majority of tree producers are based in regions like Burgundy and Morvan, treating tree production as a secondary activity due to the market's cyclical nature and fragility.

Despite local production, France faces a trade deficit in this sector and imports the majority of its Christmas trees, primarily from Denmark, the world's largest exporter, and Belgium. Key players in the market include domestic producers such as Noël Vert and Sarl Curti, importers like Du Frou, and nurseries including Naudet and Altitude 500. Note that there is no explicit numerical data from 2020 in the text, the summary relies on the contextual information provided..

French Christmas Tree Market Trends

In the festive heart of France, the Christmas tree market exhibits a marked preference for natural beauty over synthetic replicas. Over four million households – a figure nestling comfortably between five and six million – turn their homes into a Yuletide haven each year, with an additional uptake from municipalities and businesses adding a rich tapestry of diversity to the customer base. Among the verdant offerings, Nordmann Fir stands tall as the market's darling, commanding a lion's share of more than 50% of sales by volume, which equates to twice or possibly thrice the turnover of its closest competitor, the Spruce. In contrast, artificial trees, lacking the authentic allure, flounder in the market, achieving less than 20% in annual sales.

The brisk pace of the Christmas tree market pulses with a seasonal heartbeat, peaking succinctly towards the end of the year. Distribution channels like supermarkets and department stores, which encompass hypermarkets and garden centers, boast a robust sales muscle, clinching more than a third of natural fir sales and just under half of the artificial tree transactions. Specialized garden centers also assert a significant presence, responsible for close to 20% of natural fir exchanges and 11% for their artificial counterparts. Beneath the canopy of producers, Burgundy and Morvan stand out as a concentrated forest of activity.

Despite the sporadic nature of tree sales, nurserymen often relegate Christmas tree cultivation to a complementary role within their broader horticultural endeavors. The homegrown supply, however, falls far short of meeting the evergreen appetite of the French, with the nation turning to international suppliers to fill the considerable gap. With less than a fifth of domestic demands met locally, France looks to global Christmas tree champions like Denmark and Belgium to import the festive cheer. The market's landscape is defined by entities such as Noël Vert and Sarl Curti, which join international players like Du Frou and nurseries such as Naudet and Altitude 500 (Belgian) in catering to the country's seasonal needs.

Prominent Players Shaping the French Christmas Tree Market

As we delve into the landscape of the French Christmas tree market, it becomes evident that a tapestry of diverse players contributes to this festive industry. These entities range from local producers to international suppliers, each with their unique role in bringing the spirit of the holiday season to French homes and public spaces. Here, we present the key figures that stand out in this niche but vibrant market.

  • Noël Vert serves as one of the domestic frontrunners in the production of Christmas trees in France. This company prides itself on operating within the national borders, providing a variety of natural trees including the favored Nordmann Fir. Noël Vert's business approach emphasizes sustainable practices and a commitment to cater to the rising demand for natural trees, which ornaments French households with a touch of green authenticity during the festive season.
  • Sarl Curti represents another vital producer within the French market. Nestled in the lush regions suitable for Christmas tree farming, this nursery is known for its dedication to quality and tradition. Sarl Curti has made a name for itself as a reliable source for both personal and commercial buyers looking for that perfect centerpiece for their yule celebrations.
  • In the realm of importation, Du Frou plays a pivotal role as a key importer, bridging the gap between foreign supplies and the local demand. With a significant trade deficit in France when it comes to Christmas trees, companies like Du Frou ensure that the number of trees not met by local production finds its way to French soil, primarily sourcing from countries such as Denmark—known as the world's largest exporter of Christmas trees—and Belgium.
  • Lastly, we have nurseries like Naudet and Belgian-based Altitude 500, which are essential contributors to both the production and supply chain of Christmas trees. Naudet's expertise in cultivation harmonizes with the local market's cravings for natural trees, while Altitude 500 extends its reach across borders to keep up with the incessant demand during the holiday period.

Together, these actors—Noël Vert, Sarl Curti, Du Frou, Naudet, and Altitude 500—play a dynamic part in positioning France on the map of the Christmas tree market. They not only ensure that millions of homes, municipalities, and businesses can revel in the holiday spirit with their preferred type of tree but also underscore the nuanced market structure that oscillates between local production and necessary imports. 

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Introduction

The Christmas tree market in France covers the production and sale of Christmas trees nationwide: Christmas trees can be natural or artificial, depending on consumer preference. There are several varieties of natural Christmas tree, such as Epicea and Nordmann (the most popular), as well as Pectin and Spruce.

Almost 6.7 million Christmas trees will be bought by households in 2020, to which can be added the purchases of trees by local authorities, municipalities and businesses: the customer pool is therefore global and diversified. Buyers have shown a preference for natural trees over artificial ones, which account for less than 20% of annual sales. Appreciated for its solidity and longevity, the Nordmann fir dominates the market with over 50% of sales (by volume), far ahead of the spruce.

The Christmas tree market is logically concentrated over a very short period and is therefore cyclical. A large number of tree growers are concentrated in Burgundy and Morvan. Since sales are ad hoc and fragile, most nurserymen consider the tree a secondary activity.

However, production in France is not sufficient to meet demand, and the country's trade balance is in deficit. France satisfies only a fifth of its needs. The French market is made up of growers such as Noël Vert and Sarl Curti, importers such as Du Frou, and nurseries such as Pépinières Naudet and Altitude 500 (in Belgium).

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Average price trend for natural fir trees
  • Trend in the average price of natural fir trees by size
  • Change in the agricultural producer price index (IPPAP)
  • Where to buy natural fir trees
  • Where to buy artificial Christmas trees
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Latest news

Casino: Intermarché and Auchan win the bid - 18/12/2023
  • Casino: Intermarché, which had joined forces with Auchan to buy the 320 stores, finally won the bid.
  • The value of the transaction would be close to 1.6 billion euros, or 37% of the sales taken over (3.6 billion euros).
  • A social issue
  • In addition to the takeover of dozens of supermarkets and hypermarkets, Carrefour PROPOSED to take over 7,000 convenience stores under the Petit Casino, Vival and other banners. This possibility was rejected by Casino and its receivers
  • Intermarché has opened up its internal rules for independent groups to franchising, to accommodate the 60 Casino franchisees.
  • Intermarché and Auchan will share the 313 outlets sold in roughly equal parts, with Auchan taking over almost all of the 42 hypermarkets.
  • Monoprix and Franprix will remain under Groupe Casino control
80 Carrefour hypermarkets operated under franchise or leasing agreements - 14/11/2023
  • On October 20, Carrefour announced its intention to switch 37 stores (comprising 15 hypermarkets and 21 supermarkets) to lease management.
  • Since 2018, 80 hypermarkets have left integrated status, representing around a third of all hypermarkets.
  • Around 75% of supermarkets (784 out of 1038) are currently leased or franchised.
Carrefour to lease out 37 stores - 21/10/2023
  • Carrefour plans to lease out 37 new stores in 2022, 16 hypermarkets and 21 supermarkets.
  • Around 4,000 employees affected
  • The company launched an outsourcing program in 2018.
  • The number announced is in line with previous years: 41 stores (including 16 hyper) in 2023, 43 stores (including 16 hyper) in 2022, and 47 stores (including 10 hyper) in 2021.
  • Since Alexandre Bompard took over as CEO, 305 stores, including 80 hypermarkets, have been outsourced, affecting more than 23,000 employees.
Food: Carrefour joins forces with seven manufacturers to promote plant-based products - 07/09/2023
  • The aim of the international coalition to accelerate sales of plant-based alternatives is to achieve joint sales of 3 billion euros in this niche by 2026.
  • Carrefour's share will be 500 million euros, a 60% increase on today's figure.
  • Plant-based alternatives represented a market worth 553 million euros in 2022
  • Sales of plant-based products are enjoying double-digit growth.
Carrefour takes over Cora to avoid being left behind in France - 13/07/2023
  • Carrefour acquired 60 Cora hypermarkets and 115 Match supermarkets.
  • The acquisition cost was 1.05 billion euros.
  • The acquired store networks have a strong presence in the Grand Est and Northern regions of France.
  • With this acquisition, Carrefour's sales will increase by 5.2 billion euros, adding to the 42 billion euros it currently generates in France.
  • Carrefour will take over 55 hypermarkets and 77 supermarkets.
  • The combined market share of Carrefour and Cora will reach 22.6%, competing closely with Leclerc (22.4%).
  • Carmila, the real estate company in which Carrefour holds a 36% stake, has reached an agreement to take over Louis Delhaize's 93% stake in Galimmo, a company owning 52 shopping arcades adjacent to Cora stores.
Voluntary redundancy plan at Carrefour - 27/06/2023
  • 979 voluntary departures from head offices in France
  • 85,000 employees in France (over 100,000 including franchised stores)
  • Sales 2022: 90.8 billion euros (up 16%)
  • Net profit 2022: 1.35 billion euros (up 26%)
  • Approx. 1 billion euros in annual cost savings

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Interflora France
Jardiland (Groupe Teract)
Truffaut
Carrefour Groupe
Casino Groupe
FairyTrees (JKB group)
Lights4fun
National Tree Company

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