The summer appliance
slump is evident in the latest
wholesale data from the Association
of Home Appliance Manufacturers
(AHAM), which shows a 4 percent
decline in unit factory shipments last
But the figure, which reflects a nearly
22 percent boost in AC shipments
amid record-setting heat throughout
much of the eastern U.S. last month,
masked continuing weakness in the
industry’s core categories.
The steepest decline was seen in
home laundry, where washer and dryer
shipments fell 9.6 percent and 11.3
percent respectively year over year, to
about 800,200 units. The downturn
was most pronounced among gasfueled
dryers, which dropped 16.3
percent last month.
Faring slightly better was the cooking
category, which declined 8.2 percent
in unit shipments on weakness in
gas ranges (down 20.7 percent) and
gas and electric ovens (down 14.5
percent and 14.2 percent, respectively).
The only sub-sector to make
it into the plus column was electric
cooktops, which edged up 1.7 percent
year over year.
Food preservation was on par with
cooking, with total shipments down 8
percent on an 8.3 percent decline in
full-size refrigerators that was partially
offset by a 6.4 percent decrease in
Kitchen cleanup fared best among
the core categories, with dishwasher
shipments down just 2.7 percent and
disposers off by 5.8 percent.
Taken together the six major categories
that comprise the composite
AHAM 6 — washers, dryers, dishwashers,
refrigerators, freezers, ranges
and ovens — fell 9.1 percent year
over year in July, and are down 5.7
percent year to date.
Still, total shipments are down
only 0.5 percent year to date, due to
strong showings in February (up 6
percent) and March (up 11 percent),
which preceded tough comparisons
to last year’s springtime boost from
federal appliance stimulus funds.