By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The major appliance industry experienced some March Madness of its own last month as factory shipments of white goods soared 22.6 percent year-over-year to 2.5 million units.
That's the word from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), which compiles monthly wholesale sales data from vendors in its Monthly Factory Shipment Reports.
While most of last month's gains can be attributed to seasonal shipments of room air conditioners and microwave ovens, a cross section of white goods, as represented by the AHAM 6 classification of laundry, refrigeration, range and dishwasher products, showed a respectable 10.1 percent increase year-over-year.
Broken out by category, cooking, led by a 43.7 percent surge in microwave oven shipments, increased 26.6 percent. Also putting in a strong showing was electric ranges, shipments of which grew 10.5 percent. By contrast, gas ranges showed more modest gains, dragged down by a 4.3 percent decline in wholesale sales of built-in units.
Another strong performance was posted by laundry, up 16.2 percent to nearly 2.1 million units shipped. Leading the increase were washers, up 18.7 percent, and electric dryers, up 15.4 percent.
Underperforming its peers last month was kitchen clean up, which slipped 3 percent on a 14 percent decline in factory shipments of disposers and a 3.6 percent decline in compactor sales. A 12.6 percent surge in portable dishwasher unit volume helped save the category from double-digit declines.
Food preservation fared better, with total sales up 4.9 percent, led by a 5.3 percent gain in upright freezer shipments and a 5.1 percent increase in refrigerator shipments.
In home comfort, the aforementioned AC category climbed 92.6 percent as retailers laid in inventory for the upcoming season, which helped offset a 64.7 percent drop in dehumidifier sales.
Total industry shipments year to date climbed 14.4 percent over the comparable period in 2005, with 21.4 million units shipped, compared to 18.7 million units shipped during the first three months of 2005.Industry Shipments of Major Appliances*
|Product||2006 MARCH||2005 MARCH||Chg.||2006 3 mos.||2005 3 mos.||Chg.|
|All Major Appliances||9,980.4||8,140.7||22.6||21,400.4||18,708.7||14.4|
|Electric Ranges - Total||658.9||596.2||10.5||1,550.4||1,462.6||6.0|
|Surface Cooking Units||58.9 5||4.3||8.4||143.1||133.8||6.9|
|Gas Ranges - Total||372.9||360.8||3.4||892.9||887.6||0.6|
|Surface Cooking Units||56.9||50.7||12.2||142.2||126.5||12.4|
|Home Laundry - Total||2,091.8||1,800.0||16.2||4,619.7||4,257.2||8.5|
|Dryers - Total||963.9||849.6||13.4||2,133.0||2,021.2||5.5|
|Kitchen Clean Up - Total||1,392.1||1,434.8||-3.0||3,535.3||3,540.2||-0.1|
|Dishwashers - Total||791.5||737.8||7.3||1,828.9||1,770.2||3.3|
|Food Preservation - Total||1,311.0||1,250.2||4.9||2,977.5||2,797.5||6.4|
|Freezers - Total||213.9||206.2||3.7||501.8||494.8||1.4|
|Home Comfort - Total||2,647.2||1,650.3||60.4||4,384.6||2,804.2||56.4|
|Room Air Conditioners||2,527.7||1,312.1||92.6||4,180.8||2,135.1||95.8|
|*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
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