By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Factory shipments of major appliances in August rose 2.2 percent over the comparable four weeks last year to 5.9 million units, according to the latest manufacturing data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).
Year-to-date sales remained essentially flat, falling 0.2 percent year-over-year.
Last month's moderate gains are attributable in part to steep declines in secondary categories like freestanding freezers (down 26 percent) and portable dishwashers (off 19.4 percent).
But the August totals masked soaring sales of room air conditioners (up 27 percent); an unusually strong showing in home laundry (ahead 15 percent); and a nearly 5 percent spike in the AHAM 6, the composite category comprised of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, food preservation and cooking range product areas.
Specifically, room air's buoyancy plus a 22.5 percent hike in wholesale sales of dehumidifiers drove the home comfort category up 25 percent to some 219,400 units shipped last month. Similarly, an 18.6 percent gain in factory shipments of clothes washers, to 805,400 units, and an 18.1 percent increase in gas dryer shipments, to about 147,300 units, drove laundry's double-digit gains last month, as competition grows in the hotly contested frontload washer category.
But business was less brisk for the kitchen cleanup category, which slipped 0.8 percent as the dramatic decline in portable dishwashers and a nearly 8 percent drop in compactor sales was offset by a modest 1.2 percent gain in dishwasher sales, to 587,600 units.
Faring more poorly were the cooking and food preservation categories, which each fell 3.9 percent last month. Dragging down the former was as 15.5 percent sales slip for built-in gas ranges, a 7.9 percent decline for their electric counterparts, and an 8.6 percent dip in shipments of microwave ovens, which offset the 6.5 percent gain in wholesale sales of freestanding electric ranges.
Likewise, the precipitous decline of freestanding freezers offset a 2.1 percent increase in refrigerator shipments, which topped 1 million units last month.
As previously noted, AHAM 6 sales rose 4.7 percent to 3.9 million units last month, buoyed by home laundry's headwinds. Nonetheless, year-to-date shipments for the bellwether category remained relatively flat, showing a slight 0.7 percent gain through August.Industry Shipments of Major Appliances*
|Product||2005 AUGUST||2004 AUGUST||Chg.||2005 8 mos.||2004 8 mos.||Chg.|
|All Major Appliances||5,869.6||5,745.5||2.2%||53,335.0||53,426.3||-0.2%|
|Electric Ranges - Total||479.2||464.7||3.1||3,844.8||3,838.7||0.2|
|Surface Cooking Units||39.9||41.7||-4.4||340.5||367.7||-7.4|
|Gas Ranges - Total||294.4||283.6||3.8||2,326.3||2,281.3||2.0|
|Surface Cooking Units||44.8||43.6||2.9||351.1||337.0||4.2|
|Home Laundry - Total||1,477.4||1,284.6||15.0||11,202.2||10,871.7||3.0|
|Dryers - total||672.1||605.5||11.0||5,185.2||5,133.6||1.0|
|Kitchen Clean Up - Total||1,160.5||1,151.5||0.8||9,344.5||8,929.9||4.6|
|Dishwashers - Total||587.6||580.5||1.2||4,721.5||4,546.8||3.8|
|Food Preservation - Total||1,202.9||1,251.3||-3.9||8,360.0||8,733.3||-4.3|
|Freezers - Total||193.5||263.0||-26.4||1,361.4||1,597.1||-14.8|
|Home Comfort - Total||219.4||175.8||24.8||9,356.2||9,334.7||0.2|
|Room Air Conditioners||122.6||96.8||26.6||7,607.4||8,013.2||-5.1|
|*Domestic shipments only. Includes U.S. produced and imported products.|
** AHAM 6 includes: Washers, Dryers, Dishwashers, Refrigerators, Freezers, and Free-Standing and Built-In Ranges.
Source: AHAM ©TWICE 2005
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