Washington – The new year got off to a good start for the U.S. major appliance industry, with factory shipments rising 1.7 percent in January.
Drilling down into the data the news is even rosier: shipments of the sector’s six core categories — washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges and ovens – together grew 2.3 percent year over year, to about 2.2 million units.
The data, compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), reflects recent observations by majap makers and merchants of a recovering U.S. housing sector and the consumer’s increasing propensity to spend.
Leading last month’s charge was cooking, with gas cooktops up 32.3 percent, gas ovens up nearly 23 percent, electric ovens ahead 20.6 percent, and electric cooktops increasing 15.5 percent.
Also putting in a strong performance was kitchen clean up, with shipments of built-in dishwashers climbing nearly 15 percent to some 343,300 units.
January was also a good month for laundry, with wholesale unit volume rising nearly 7 percent for washers and more than 19 percent for gas dryers. Total laundry shipments hit 817,400 units, compared to 765,100 last year.
In contrast, food preservation got off to a slower start in 2013. Shipments of large refrigerators fells 9.4 percent last month to about 442,700 units, and chest-style freezers declined 6.6 percent, offsetting a nearly 5 percent increase in upright freezer volume.
Demand was also slight for room air conditioners, shipments of which slipped 1.7 percent year over year.
In other AHAM news, the industry trade group will hold its annual meeting April 28-29 at the The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., under the theme “Scaling New Heights.” To mark last year’s launch of AHAM Canada, the event will be highlighted by a visit to the Canadian embassy, where the annual business breakfast and general sessions will be held. For more information visit AHAM.org.