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Fewer trees to the Netherlands, more baubles from China

December 23, 2019

Festive government stats show German Christmas tree exports took a hit in 2018, while domestic tourism and the retail sector fared well. Germany also imported more decorations and presents than ever, mostly from China.

Angela Merkel stands before a Christmas tree
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler

Germany imported more Christmas decorations and exported fewer Christmas trees in 2018, according to statistics released on Monday by the government's statistics agency, Destatis.

The statistics are released annually and also showed that more people in Germany spent Christmas in hotels or other accommodation in 2018 compared to previous years.

Read more: Words you need to understand Christmas in Germany

German holiday facts 2018
German holiday facts 2018

This is good news for the tourism industry and for the retail sector, which also saw the profit margins of many goods such as electronics and body care products increase slightly in the months leading up to Christmas 2019.

Given the large number of Germans staying in Germany, the statistics also look good for the domestic tourism industry.

However, it is less promising for the German Christmas tree industry, with a fall in exports compared to the previous year. 

What are the figures?

  • 30 million overnight stays were recorded in Germany in December 2018, 24 million by Germans, an increase of 21% from 2013.
  • Of foreign tourists staying in Germany in December, the largest numbers hailed from the Netherlands (691,000 rooms overnight), the US (485,000 rooms) and the UK (483,000).
  • Germany exported 17% fewer Christmas trees in 2018 compared to 2017, 742,000 tons down from 897,000 tons. Most German Christmas trees are grown in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Cologne is located. The biggest recipient was the Netherlands.
  • 17,720 tons of Christmas decorations and presents were imported to Germany, 72% from China, worth €143 million ($158.7 million). This is an increase of 12% from the previous year.
  • 19% of German retailers' income came during Christmas time 2018 (November and December), with a disproportionate amount from traditional Christmas gifts such as books and jewelry.

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Kommentarbild PROVISORISCH Elliot Douglas
Elliot Douglas Elliot Douglas is a video, audio and online journalist based in Berlin.