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The hard data is in, supporting anecdotal reports that white-goods sales hit the skids in the waning weeks of 2006.
According to factory shipment data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), wholesale sales were down 6.7 percent in unit volume year-over-year in November to 5.3 million pieces, while year-to-date shipments were up a slim 1.7 percent. The culprits, said industry players, was a weak housing market, creeping gasoline prices and holiday deferrals as consumers budgeted their disposable income for gift giving.
Leading the industry downward were refrigerators, a core category that fell 19 percent year-over-year to 725,000 units shipped in November. The downturn also flattened year-to-date shipments to 10 million units, down 0.1 percent from the prior-year period.
Freestanding freezers didn't fare much better, with chest-style units down 19.4 percent and upright models off 12.6 percent for the month.
Also taking it on the chin was gas ranges, off 11 percent year-over-year overall, and down 12 percent in freestanding models. Thanks to more moderate declines in surface cooking units (down 3.7 percent), microwave ovens (down 5.2 percent) and electric ranges (off 7.5 percent), the entire cooking category came away with a 6.6 percent decline overall.
Shipments were comparable within the kitchen cleanup category, with dishwashers down 7.3 percent and disposers off 6.8 percent for the month. Year-to-date wholesale sales were off 2.3 percent category-wide, to 12.9 million units compared with 13.2 million units shipped during the prior-year period.
Perhaps the only product segment to come out clean was washers, which showed a 2 percent increase in factory shipments in November. But the gain, to some 692,600 units, was offset by a 10.6 percent decline in dryer shipments, resulting in a 4 percent decline for the laundry category overall.
Vendors were able to take comfort in the home comfort category. Room air shipments rebounded to 18,500 units in November, compared with returns of 63,500 air conditioners during the prior-year period, AHAM reported.Industry Shipments of Major Appliances*
|Product||2006 NOV.||2005 NOV.||% Chg.||2006 9 mos.||2005 9 mos.||% Chg.|
|All Major Appliances||5,257.3||5,636.6||-6.7%||73,223.7||72,018.4||1.7%|
|Electric Ranges - Total||500.3||540.7||-7.5%||5,610.0||5,536.7||1.3%|
|Surface Cooking Units||42.2||43.9||-3.7%||492.6||483.2||2.0%|
|Gas Ranges - Total||290.5||326.5||-11.0%||3,230.3||3,355.4||-3.7%|
|Surface Cooking Units||45.1||47.9||-5.9%||513.8||502.8||2.2%|
|Home Laundry - Total||1,250.7||1,303.4||-4.0%||15,617.7||15,597.1||0.1%|
|Dryers - Total||558.1||624.4||-10.6%||7,113.5||7,316.2||-2.8%|
|Kitchen Clean Up - Total||1,035.2||1,114.3||-7.1%||12,886.2||13,191.7||-2.3%|
|Dishwashers - Total||555.0||598.9||-7.3%||6,551.8||6,691.0||-2.1%|
|Food Preservation - Total||887.5||1,089.9||-18.6%||12,021.0||12,081.5||-0.5%|
|Freezers - Total||162.9||195.3||-16.6%||1,927.2||1,981.8||-2.8%|
|Home Comfort - Total||74.3||-23.3||NA||11,358.2||9,608.2||18.2%|
|Room Air Conditioners||18.5||-63.5||NA||9,932.5||7,671.6||29.5%|
|*Domestic shipments only. Includes U.S. produced and imported products.|
**AHAM 6 includes: washer, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers and freestanding and built-in ranges.
Source: AHAM © TWICE 2007
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.