WASHINGTON – Factory unit shipments of major appliances were up 5 percent in September, reversing last season’s summer doldrums, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) reported.
Driving the gains was room air, which saw shipments soar 57 percent to 92 million units as an extended summer season kept consumers uncomfortable and retailers stocked up for 2017.
Amid the industry’s core product categories, laundry led the way with a 9.3 percent gain, followed by dishwashers which rose 9.1 percent year over year.
Refrigerators similarly enjoyed a 7.2 percent surge, although demand for freestanding freezers fell along with shipments, which dropped more than 16 percent.
The cooking category also cooled, down 2 percent to 2.1 million units on weakness in microwave ovens. Shipments of that product slipped 7.5 percent, offsetting a 7.7 percent hike in gas-fueled ranges.
Despite a strong September overall, languid summer demand — as reflected in flat August shipments and a 5.3 percent decline in July — left year-to-date shipment totals up just 1.5 percent, AHAM data shows.