Simply Business, one of the UK’s largest providers of insurance for small businesses, analysed over 900,000 policies to find that the number of professional Father Christmases has dropped by 33% since last year.
What’s more, in another blow to festive cheer, the number of Christmas tree sellers has experienced a shocking 54% decline since 2019.
The analysis marks a new low for the sectors and leaves serious questions to be answered - namely, is Santa Claus coming to town?
With the sharp decline in the number of Father Christmases comes an equal rise in demand for the remaining few.
Steve Townsend, professional Father Christmas in Surrey said “With there being so few Santas out there, I’m inundated with bookings - but I am also having to travel greater distances, which means mounting petrol bills. Sadly I can only use the sleigh one night per year!
“I know that being Santa Claus is snow joke, and I’m happy to go the extra mile for my customers. Some companies are cutting costs by employing teenagers in a cheap costume with a false beard - those guys will definitely end up on the naughty list.”
Jayne Darling from Get Happy Entertainment in Nottingham said “We have been fully booked for Santa Clauses since January this year and are already booked out in December 2024, but we just don’t have enough St Nicks on our books to fill the spots - it’s a real shame!
“We’ve found recruiting professional Father Christmases since the pandemic has been very difficult. We are also now seeing increased demand for other Christmas characters such as elves and the Grinch.”
Allan Evans, Steel Works Santa based in South Wales said “We are doing really well at the moment. We started taking bookings in February this year which was a bit crazy and we are now 4 weeks into a fully booked season. It seems to me that people are looking for more festive activities as part of the recovery from the COVID times. Everything I earn, I donate to charity. Last year we raised just over £10,000 and are hoping to do better this year.”
The number of Christmas tree sellers has declined by 54% since 2019. As consumers cut back spending amidst a cost-of-living crisis, demand for luxury items - including fresh cut trees - is hit left, right and Santa.
David Cunningham, Manager at F.C. Christmas Trees in Birmingham, said “This festive season is obviously crucial to us - we don’t sell many Christmas trees in June! Having said that, we don’t take a ‘pile them high, sell them cheap’ attitude when it comes to our trees. We see large retailers offer customers ridiculously cheap prices, but we know that what we offer is far more special - complete value for money.
“Picking a Christmas Tree is a jolly occasion for families, and I am delighted that I get to share the experience with my customers. Many of our customers keep coming back for years, and we are always happy to see them. Without them, we do not exist.”
Though Christmas lore dictates that, through the magic of Christmas, Santa does not encounter any mishaps, professional Santa Clauses need a little more safeguarding.
Simply Business provides insurance for professional Father Christmases up and down the country for the festive season. Policies can include the likes of public liability insurance, which can protect businesses in the event they cause injury to the public or property damage.
In order to receive a quote for insurance, Santas are required to answer a list of questions including, “Are you The Real Father Christmas”, “Do you wear a traditional red suit?” and “What is your favourite Christmas carol?”.
Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said “The decline in professional Santas and a fir-midable drop in Christmas tree sellers is a real Claus for concern. These small businesses bring so much magic to their communities during the festive season, and we know that small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy.
“This Christmas, we would encourage people to visit their local businesses – if we vow to support small businesses, then the positive effect will snowball in our communities, and there will be no question about whether Santa Claus is coming to town.”
Notes to Editors Figures based on analysis of over 900,000 insurance policies taken out between 2019 - 2023.
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Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service, delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. Using the power of tech and data to create the best possible customer experiences, Simply Business employs over 800 people across offices in London, Northampton, and Boston in the US.
Owing to its internal underwriting capability, Simply Business can cover over 1,000 trade types – ranging from plumbers to accountants to dog walkers. An accredited B Corp for their positive social impact, Simply Business has also been voted the Sunday Times Best Company To Work For twice in a row.
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