Around this time of year, homeowners deck their halls with Christmas lights, inflatable lawn ornaments, and light-up menorahs, many of which are found at Walmart.com ($WMT),
But when it comes to what brands of holiday decorations consumers are buying, two names stand out above the rest: Walmart-brand Holiday Time and Gemmy Industries ($PRIVATE:GEMMYINDUSTRIESCORPORATION). Holiday Time is pretty self-explanatory, while Gemmy Industries is a private company with loads of licensing agreements with big names such as Disney ($DIS), and also originated the famous Big Mouth Billy Bass that's now partnering with Amazon ($AMZN).
Between these two companies is a near stranglehold of the holiday market at Walmart; there are only two holiday items in Walmart's November best-seller rankings for Party & Occasions products, the umbrella category for decorations along with party-related items. A look at the top sellers in this category for the past month shows how Gemmy, as well as Walmart's generic brand Holiday Time, dominate the market while lessor manufacturers such as Brite Star and Northlight sweep up the tinsel.
|Name||Brand||Category Rank (Average)||Category Rank (Count)|
|Gemmy LightShow LED Shooting Star Icicle Christmas Lights, 10 Count White, 10.5' Long||Gemmy Lightshow||1||29|
|Bounce-Off Challenge Fun Game||Mattel Games||2||29|
|M&M's, White Halloween Candy Corn Chocolate Candies, 8 Oz||M&M'S||3||29|
|Simplicity Red Rose Petals, 250 Count||Simplicity||4||29|
|Gemmy Airblown Christmas Inflatables 5' Disney Minnie with Candy Cane||Gemmy Airblown||5||29|
|Frozen Elsa Classic Toddler Dress Up / Role Play Costume with Locket||Disguise||6||29|
|Holiday Time 10-Ft. 300 High Density Icicle Lights, Clear for Indoor or Outdoor Use||Holiday Time||7||10|
|Holiday Time 300-Count High Density Clear Icicle Christmas Lights||Holiday Time||7||7|
|Great Value Soak-Proof Foam Plates, Value Pack, 8 7/8\||Great Value||7.586206897||29|
|White Plastic Party Tablecloth, 108 x 54in, 1ct||Unique Industries||8||7|
|Holiday Time 59.5 ft. LED Multicolor G30 Christmas Lights, 100 Ct, Super Bright for Indoor and Outdoor Use||Holiday Time||9||15|
|Unique Plastic Tablecloth, 108 x 54 in, White, 1ct||Unique Industries||9.4||20|
|Red Polka Dots Wrapping Paper||Unique Industries||10.55172414||29|
|Holiday Time Pre-Lit 4' Christmas Lamp Post Tree, Clear Lights||Holiday Time||10.73333333||15|
|Holiday Time Light-Up Clear Spiral Trees, Set of 2, Indoor or Outdoor Use||Holiday Time||11.55172414||29|
While these two brands rule the holiday light market for now, it may not be for long as tariffs levied against China threaten stability.
According to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, "Lighting sets of a kind used for Christmas trees" is listed as item 9405.30.00. That item was included as part of the $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports President Donald Trump put against the country. The tariff currently is at a 10% and is scheduled to rise to 25% on January 1st, 2019.
Most Christmas lights and other decorations, such as the ones by Gemmy Industries, are engineered and manufactured in China. Estimates show that about 85% of all of such lights come from China, and it's 80% more to manufacture lights in the U.S. than it is to manufacture them overseas, according to Jason Woodward, a Christmas light specialist quoted in a Seattle Times story on this issue.
Fortunately for holiday shoppers, President Trump and President Xi of China agreed to no new tariffs for 90 days after the G20 conference, delaying the planned 25% increase. But should this trade war continue to escalate, the Christmas decoration market, and the holidays as we know it, could change drastically next year.