October Major Appliance Shipments Are Flat: AHAM

By Alan Wolf On Nov 22 2010 - 6:01am

WASHINGTON — Major appliance demand remains stuck in neutral. According to the latest wholesale data from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), total U.S. factory shipments rose 0.5 percent last month, to 4.2 million units, and are up just less than 3 percent for the first 10 months of the year.

Results were choppy. Examined by category, cooking took the biggest hit in October, down by 8.6 percent year over year, while core products like refrigerators and washers were up more than 4 percent each.

Last month’s biggest winner was the home-comfort category, which was up a whopping 454 percent as room air continued to rebound from last year’s precipitous declines. The A/C surge helped offset a 51 percent drop-off in dehumidifier shipments.

At the other end of the spectrum, the cooking category cooled off considerably as declines in microwave oven and cooktop shipments (in both electric and gas) fell by the mid-teens. Only low single-digit gains by electric and gas ranges and electric ovens helped mitigate the cooking category downturn.

Similarly, a 4.3 percent gain in refrigerator shipments helped offset a 16 percent plunge in chest-style freezers, leaving the food preservation with a modest 1.3 percent increase for the month.

The same was true in kitchen cleanup, where an 8.2 percent increase in disposer shipments helped limit category losses amid a 25 percent plunge in portable dishwashers. Built-in washer shipments were flat.

Home laundry delivered the most solid results across the board, with washer shipments up 4.1 percent and dryers ahead 4.7 percent, led by a surge in electric models.

The core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven product classifications, known as the AHAM 6, together posted a modest 2.6 percent increase year over year, and are up 4.6 percent year to date.

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