Washington - Factory shipments of major appliances took a nosedive in April, falling 21.6 percent against tough year-over-year comparisons.
Wholesale unit volume, as reported by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), was stymied by last year's 12.4 gain, when retail sales were goosed by $300 million in federal stimulus rebates. Shipments were also impacted by the prior-month's purchases, when volume rose 11 percent as retailers bought in before an expected round of price hikes in April.
Every major product category saw double-digits declines, with the steepest, 32 percent, in the room air segment, which was also hobbled by this season by supply-chain problems.
The core refrigerator category fell 25 percent, to some 644,200 units shipped, while laundry was down nearly 20 percent, to about 997,500 washers and dryers.
Cooking unit shipments declined 13 percent, dragged down by a 29 percent plunge in gas cooktops, while wholesale dishwasher volume fell 17 percent.
Only disposer shipments posted a gain last month, rising 4.7 percent.
The April figures, compiled by AHAM from manufacturers' shipment data, reverse two consecutive months of solid increases and lower the year-to-date volume through April 30 to 21.6 million units, a 2.1 percent decline year over year.