Jan. Majap Shipments Fall 8%

By Alan Wolf On Mar 10 2010 - 3:21pm

WASHINGTON — Factory shipments of major appliances plunged 8 percent in January to just less than 3.7 million units following a strong resurgence in the closing weeks of 2009.

The New Year drop-off was largely related to an 82 percent decline in shipments of room air conditioners year over year, following weak demand last summer. It followed a nearly 6 percent surge in November wholesale sales to support aggressive Black Friday promotions.

According to the latest manufacturer data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), January shipments remained robust in several core categories, including refrigerators, up 4.3 percent; electric and gas-fueled cooking products, up nearly 4.2 percent; and clothes dryers, up 2.9 percent.

But the gains were offset by other categories within those product groups. In laundry for example, washer shipments fell 4.1 percent to approximately 515,800 units, while within the refrigeration grouping shipments of freestanding freezers fell 9.6 percent on a 14 percent plunge in cheststyle models.

Similarly, the cooking category was dragged down by an 8.2 percent drop in shipments of microwave ovens, and the high-double-digit decline in room air shipments masked a 2.7 percent gain in dehumidifiers.

Kitchen cleanup was the only product group to experience declines across the board, led by a 33.5 percent fall-off in shipments of portable dishwashers and a 23 percent stumble for trash compactors. The core built-in dishwasher category slipped 1.2 percent, and disposer shipments were essentially flat with a 0.4 percent decline.

Total monthly shipments for kitchen cleanup slipped 1 percent in January to 968,000 units.

The AHAM 6, an amalgam of the critical washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven categories, increased 0.5 percent to 2.3 million units. The AHAM 6 was created by the trade association to provide a snapshot of in industry trends.

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