Maritime & Trade Blog

JOC Insights: US Christmas trees and decorations imports




US imports of Christmas trees & decorations to hit an eight-year high

US containerized imports of Christmas trees and decorations stalled in the third quarter, year-over-year, partly owed to a strong comparison base and disruptions caused by Hanjin's collapse. Nevertheless, year-to-date, from January through September, the trade was up 2.5 percent, with an approximate total TEU count of 88,919.

For all of 2016, I am anticipating growth of between 6 and 7 percent in the trade as disposable incomes improved and the labor market strengthened. A strong dollar also is a contributing factor to the expansion. By the end of the year, the trade will have expanded for the 4th consecutive year, still not enough to surpass the volume seen in the 2007 peak year.

China continues to be the largest supplier of Christmas trees & decorations to the US

By TEU volume, China is by far the largest supplier of Christmas trees & decorations to the US, accounting for 89.7 percent of the market year-to-date through September, down from 91.6 percent over the same period in 2015. Advanced infrastructure and well-developed supply chain network have allowed China to own such a stronghold in the production and sourcing of Christmas articles, and will be nearly impossible to beat by the low-cost producers of Southeast Asia in the near term.

Honduras took a respectable second place in the rankings, accounting for 1.8 percent of the total US Christmas trees & decorations imports market, up from 1.0 percent over the same period in 2015. Honduras' sourcing increased noticeably from merely 4 twenty-foot containers in 2014 to 1,637 twenty-foot containers in 2016, year-to-date.

Hong Kong and Germany follow, each accounting for 1.5 and 1.3 percent of the total US Christmas trees & decorations imports market.

Port of Los Angeles handled most inbound traffic of Christmas trees & decorations year-to-date

Year-to-date, from January through September, the Port of Los Angeles handled the most international inbound shipments of Christmas trees & decorations, with a 31 percent share of the trade in terms of TEU volume, up 3 percentage points from the same period in 2015. NY/NJ followed with a 14 percent share of the trade, up 1 percentage point from the same period in 2015. Long Beach followed with a 19 percent share of the trade, down also 1 percentage point from the same period in 2014. Meanwhile, Long Beach handled 13 percent of the traffic, respectively, down 6 percentage points from the same period in 2015, partly owed to falling shipments from China.

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About The Author

Mr. Mario O. Moreno is a Senior Economist for IHS Maritime & Trade. ​He joined IHS in December 2014, when IHS acquired JOC Group Inc., a premier provider of US seaborne trade intelligence through data, online content and events. As an economist for JOC Group, he produced reliable and widely-praised trade forecasts — informed by his deep understanding of international trade and transportation market drivers. Mr. Moreno integrates macroeconomic trends into his analysis of crucial shipping data to provide need-to-know intelligence to all sides of the shipping world.

Mr. Moreno's analysis and forecasts are frequently cited by top business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Bloomberg, and speaks regularly at industry events including the annual Trans-pacific Maritime Conference in Long Beach, California.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Global Business from William Paterson University, New Jersey, US, and a master’s degree in Economics from Rutgers University, New Jersey, US.