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Following a somber start to the new year, when January wholesale sales slipped 3.3 percent, the major appliance industry rebounded in February with factory shipments shooting up 7.8 percent to nearly 5.5 million units.
According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), which compiles the monthly U.S. market figures from vendor reports, much of the gains could be attributed to room air sales, as retailers began stocking up for the summer.
That segment grew 38.8 percent over February 2002, with unit shipments reaching 770,400, compared to 555,000 last year. Also buoying the overall home comfort category was dehumidifiers, sales of which shot up 174.4 percent as unit volume went from approximately 30,600 pieces during the prior-year period to 83,900 this past February.
Sales gains weren't limited to seasonal goods, as increased demand was also seen in the core laundry, kitchen clean up and cooking categories. Home laundry led the way with a 5.9 percent hike to 1.2 million units, thanks to strong, across-the-board showings by its gas dryer, washer, and electric dryer components, which were up 7.7 percent, 5.9 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.
Sales were more skewed for kitchen clean up, whose 5.3 percent gain came largely from disposers. That category grew 10.8 percent in February, to 460,000 units, while dishwashers were essentially flat with 0.7 percent growth.
Meanwhile, sales of cooking products simmered, with gains of 3.2 percent sending unit volume close to the 1.6 million mark. The increase, however, was shouldered solely by shipments of microwave ovens, which rose 8.1 percent to 944,000 units, as sales of ranges fell 3.1 percent for electric models and 3.7 percent for gas models. Taking the biggest hit within the cooking category was built-in gas ranges, sales of which plummeted 21.2 percent to 5,000 units.Industry Shipments Of Major Appliances
|Product||2003 FEBRUARY||2002 FEBRUARY||% Chg.||2003 2 mo.||2002 2 mo.||% Chg.|
|ALL MAJOR APPLIANCES||5,470.8||5,074.10||7.8||9,126.5||8,854.3||3.1|
|COOKING - TOTAL||1,592.4||1,543.80||3.2||2,712.6||2,645.9||2.5|
|ELECTRIC RANGES - TOTAL||405.9||418.9||-3.1||733||751.7||-2.5|
|Surface Cooking Units||41.8||43.3||-3.5||75.4||78.7||-4.2|
|GAS RANGES - TOTAL||242.7||251.9||-3.7||426.9||450.9||-5.3|
|Surface Cooking Units||31.6||32.7||-3.2||56.5||57||-0.8|
|HOME LAUNDRY - TOTAL||1,231.1||1,162.90||5.9||2,168.9||2,176.9||-0.4|
|DRYERS - TOTAL||587.7||555.2||5.8||1,028.1||1,039.1||-1.1|
|KITCHEN CLEAN UP - TOTAL||953.6||905.2||5.3||1,709.0||1,715.1||-0.4|
|DISHWASHERS - TOTAL||484.3||480.9||0.7||846.7||875.2||-3.3|
|FOOD PRESERVATION - TOTAL||839.4||876.7||-4.3||1,466.8||1,592.5||-7.9|
|FREEZERS - TOTAL||184.1||183.9||0.1||327.2||331.5||-1.3|
|HOME COMFORT - TOTAL||854.3||585.5||45.9||1,069.3||723.9||47.7|
|ROOM AIR CONDITIONERS||770.4||555.0||38.8||951.2||679.8||39.9|
|*Domestic shipments only. Includes U.S. produced and imported products.|
** AHAM 6 includes: Washer, Dryers, Dishwashers, Refrigerator, Freezers, and Free-Standing and Built-In Ranges.
Source: AHAM ©TWICE 2002