The 1.5-metre Nordmann fir trees sold at HK$999 until the store dropped the price to HK$599 late last month, and then to its latest bargain basement level.
“Probably everyone had a lot of stock left,” Justin Chung, founder of online florist Gift Flower HK, whose website listed a 1.8-metre noble fir at HK$1,999, said.
Chung said he bought in about 30 per cent less than the 200 trees he had for sale last year.
He added he had sold out, but that he had made a loss of HK$100 to HK$300 on the last third of them.
Chung added that Hongkongers who could not travel last year because of Covid-19 restrictions splashed out on decorating their homes with real Christmas trees.
But he suggested now that travel restrictions had eased, people preferred to save for a trip instead.
He said his hamper business, which caters mainly to corporate customers, also suffered a sharp drop from the 5,000 he sold last year. Chung expected to sell only half as many, or even fewer, this year with just a week left to Christmas.
Businesses were spending less on corporate gifts, probably because of the downbeat economy, and some of his clients had laid off workers too.
“Usually it’s about HK$1,200 per hamper, but now we are looking at HK$600 to HK$700 each,” he said.
Chung added that the cheaper hampers had either no alcohol or a lower-end bottle of wine.
Two city residents already in the festive mood this year were among those who managed to snag bargain trees last week.
Samuel Kong, 36, a salesman, said he had avoided buying real trees in the past because of the high price.
But he said as he snapped up a $50 tree at Ikea’s Causeway Bay store on Thursday: “It’d be a great pity and loss if I didn’t buy this one.”
Luke Casey, 36, a photographer, bought a tree even though he will be travelling over the holidays.
“The real one that has a smell that is obviously better and you have the feeling of Christmas,” he explained.