A strong growth surge for core products in October helped major appliance manufacturers turn in yet another strong month for shipments to domestic markets, according to figures released by AHAM.
Total appliance shipments for the month rose 7.3% - to 4.65 million units from 4.34 million in the same month last year - and put the 10-month total at 52.2 million, up 9.7% from the year-earlier 47.6 million.
Shipments of core appliances (ranges, washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers) recovered from a September slump and jumped 9.8% in October to 2.98 million from the 2.71 million of the same month last year.
The growth was paced by double-digit increases for dryers, dishwashers and freezers, though shipments were up for all products in the category. Through the first 10 months, shipments of core appliances totaled just over 31 million, up 7.4% from last year's 28.9 million.
As for non-core appliances (cooktops, disposers, compactors, room air conditioners and dehumidifiers), October's increase was just 3.2% to 1.67 million from 1.62 million. That sub-par growth marked the end of the lift from room air conditioner demand that drove the category through the summer months.
Compactors, dehumidifiers and microwave ovens provided the growth, as cooktop and disposer shipments slipped and room air shipments took a double-digit drop.
But through the first 10 months non-core appliance shipments were up 13.3% to 21.2 million. That was well ahead of the 18.7 million for the same period last year and approached the 21.6 million total for all of 1998.