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Factory sales of major appliances rose 9.8 percent to 7.2 million units in April, according to data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.
Leading the charge was home comfort, up 33.6 percent on strength in room air conditioner sales as dealers stock up for summer. AC wholesale volume shot up 42.5 percent to 1.9 million units, which compensated for a 15.6 percent drop-off in dehumidifier shipments.
Also putting in a strong performance was food preservation, up 13.9 percent thanks to a 43.2 percent spike in sales of upright freezers, another seasonal category. Refrigerators also fared well, with wholesale sales rising 11.1 percent to about 824,300 units. Year-to-date sales of refrigerators remained solid, with shipments rising 8.5 percent for the first quarter.
Sales were softer in kitchen cleanup, rising only 3.8 percent on weak compactor sales and flat volume in built-in dishwashers. By contrast, shipments of portable dishwashers rose 28.6 percent to 11,200 units, and disposer sales increased nearly 6 percent to over a half a million units.
In home laundry, strength in washers (unit sales up 5.4 percent) was offset by an 11.1 percent drop in gas dryer shipments, to 108,600 units. Washers also cleaned up in the first quarter, with factory shipments up 9.9 percent through April.
Taking it on the chin was the cooking category, which fell 3.8 percent in April year-over-year due to weakness in microwave ovens and freestanding gas ranges and surface cooking units. Shipments of microwave ovens fell 9 percent to 1 million units, while total gas range sales slipped 1 percent. By contrast, electric ranges were cooking, with freestanding units up 7.4 percent and cooktops up nearly 5 percent. Built-ins of both types did well, with electric versions up 7.3 percent and gas models up 16.3 percent.
The AHAM 6 composite classification, comprised of washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers and freestanding and built-in ranges, rose 5.4 percent in unit factory shipments to 3.4 million units. Sales were up 6 percent through April.Industry Shipments of Major Appliances*
|Product||2006 April||2005 April||% Chg.||2006 4 mos.||2005 4 mos.||% Chg.|
|All Major Appliances||7,172.8||6,531.3||9.8||28,576.9||25,240.0||13.2|
|Electric Ranges - Total||484.5||452.1||7.2||2,035.1||1,914.7||6.3|
|Surface Cooking Units||44.2||42.1||4.9||187.2||175.9||6.4|
|Gas Ranges - Total||271.9||274.7||-1.0||1,164.8||1,162.3||2.0|
|Surface Cooking Units||43.7||43.5||0.7||185.9||170.0||9.4|
|Home Laundry - Total||1,214.2||1,199.3||1.2||5,833.9||5,456.5||6.9|
|Dryers - Total||557.5||576.2||-3.2||2,690.5||2,597.4||3.6|
|Kitchen Clean Up - Total||1,074.4||1,035.2||3.8||4,609.7||4,575.4||0.8|
|Dishwashers - Total||561.8||550.4||2.1||2,390.7||2,320.5||3.0|
|Food Preservation - Total||992.0||871.0||13.9||3,973.1||3,668.6||8.3|
|Freezers - Total||167.7||129.1||29.9||669.5||624.0||7.3|
|Home Comfort - Total||2,132.5||1,596.7||33.6||6,517.2||4,400.9||48.1|
|Room Air Conditioners||1,926.3||1,352.3||42.5||6,107.2||3,487.4||75.1|
|*Domestic shipments only. Includes U.S. produced and imported products.|
** AHAM 6 includes: washer, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerator, freezers, and freestanding and built-in ranges.
Source: AHAM ©TWICE 2006
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.