With high streets up and down the country having to try harder to become ‘destinations’ to compete with the massive rise in online purchasing, festive lights are becoming an increasingly important way for towns to lure shoppers.
And more and more towns have been choosing Plantscape’s solar-powered Christmas trees as a way to draw in visitors to spend money on goods, services and experiences.
In fact, the civic floral display specialist is celebrating its most successful year of sales for its eco-friendly, hassle-free trees to date – and is concerned it may run out of them months ahead of the big day in 2020.
So it is suggesting councils allocate a chunk of their 2020/21 budget for the trees – and get their orders in well ahead of time to help boost their local economies.
Happy customers have come from as far afield as Oban and Dunlop in Scotland, Hythe on the South Coast, Clacton in the East and Cornelly in Wales, with more than 2,000 on display countrywide.
For some, the choice was between facing a dark Christmas or plumping for the solar option, as the Clacton Town Partnership’s Lisa Andrews explained.
“The use of solar lighting in Clacton-on-Sea resolved a big problem as the local council had been unable to fund replacement electrical fittings on our lampposts and without this solar solution, Clacton may well have been without Christmas lights at all.”
In Oban, the display plays a vital role in helping the local economy, as Andrew Spence, chief executive of BID4Oban, explained.
“Initially I was extremely sceptical about the prospect of solar-powered Christmas trees because we get so little daylight, but they give us a display for five hours and have been extremely successful over the past few years.
“They help us to light up streets where we haven’t got the infrastructure for traditional decorations and where we couldn’t afford lights.
“The switch-on is one of the single biggest days in the retail calendar and it allows us to keep people in the town for longer, so having a good display is hugely important and the solar powered trees are a vital part of that.”
In Derbyshire, Hatton Parish Council clerk Jacqui Storer said: “The village has never had Christmas lights before and the feedback and support was exceptional. The trees looked good during the day and they all remained lit and without fault during the festive season.
“The Parish Council was impressed as the whole installation, operations and removal of the lights went without incident. The process was simple, speedy and without fuss, making it stress free.”