Washington – Major appliances ended 2012 on a flat note, with total factory unit shipments rising less than 1 percent year-over-year.
But the overall results masked weakness in core categories including laundry, down 7.2 percent; refrigerators, down 2.1 percent; and ranges, down by the low single digits, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) reported.
Indeed, volume for AHAM’s big-six categories – washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges and ovens – together declined 4.1 percent in December, to 3.4 million units.
The Christmas-period slowdown, which extended to retail, has been variously attributed to consumer concerns over the looming “fiscal cliff” and the shift of holiday sales to November. Majap shipments rose 2 percent that month, AHAM data showed, as retailers bulked up for what proved to be a busy Black Friday selling period.
Bright spots in December included dishwashers, up 5.6 percent, and microwave ovens, up 12.3 percent. But the gains were more than offset by steep declines in dehumidifiers, down 82 percent, and gas ovens, down 26 percent.
For the full year, majap shipments slipped 0.2 percent to 60.7 million units, while AHAM’s six core categories fell 2.3 percent.