Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

John S. Hytle

Second Advisor

J. Edwen Fate

Third Advisor

Farrell B. Brown


The Christmas tree custom came the United States from Europe in the eighteeth century and by the mid-nineteeth century was an integral part of the Yuletide season. Today in South Carolina alone, there is a potential market for more than 176,000 natural cut trees. The purpose of this study was to obtain a more comprehensive knowledge of consumer tastes and future potential for the marketing of the cut trees in South Carolina. This study had the following major objectives: (a) to determine the overall quantity of Christmas trees demanded in the South Carolina market, and (b) to determine the relation of certain socio-economic factors and consumer Christmas tree buying habits. Data used was obtained from a mail survey of Edgefield, Lee, Williamsburg, Aiken, Lancaster, Dillon, Greenville, Richland, and Charleston counties. This selection was made to determine if any marked difference of consumer preference existed within the state due to geographical location or population density within the county of residence. Through the use of the chi-square test of independence, the study found that a relationship between type of tree and family income, type of tree and age of respondent, and between type of tree and children under 17 years of age residing in the household did exist. Also, a trend was noted from use of natural cut trees to the use of man-made trees. Another purpose was the formation of a linear discriminat function to evaluate certain socio-economic factors in a prediction equation. There were two groups, cut tree buyers and non-cut tree buyers. Using population density, children, family income, scored occupation, and age of respondent, a linear discriminant function was derived which correctly classified almost 70 percent of the cut tree purchasers. Population density, family income, and age of respondent were found to have a substantial effect on the probability of an observation being classified as a cut tree buyer. Children at home and scored occupation wre also found to exert and influence, but to a smaller degree. A young, high income household with several children under 17 years of age, in the urban areas, with a professional jobholder was found to be most likely cut tree buyer.