Washington - Strong demand for ACs, dehumidifiers and refrigerators amid an early summer heat -- plus the final effects of the majap stimulus rebates -- sent industry shipments up 9.4 percent last month.
According to the latest wholesale data from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), vendors shipped 6.4 million units in June, bringing 2010's first-half tally to 33.6 million pieces, an increase of 4 percent over the prior-year period.
Leading the charge last month was the home-comfort category, which rose 43.7 percent year over year on a 65.6 percent surge in dehumidifier shipments and a 40.3 percent hike in room air units. But the gains barely helped compensate for three consecutive years of declines, as evidenced by year-to-date shipments that were flat for ACs and down 3 percent for dehumidifiers.
Also enjoying the early summer heat wave was refrigeration, which rose 14.3 percent to 1.3 million units. The industry gave freestanding freezers the cold shoulder, however, with factory shipments falling 10.4 percent for chest and upright configurations combined.
The next-best showing was in kitchen cleanup, where an 11 percent boost in dishwasher shipments led the category to an 8.3 percent climb for the month.
Coming in a far fourth was home laundry, up 4.3 percent, as weak demand for electric dryers offset a 6.7 percent surge in washer shipments.
In contrast, cooking fell on hard times in June, with total shipments dipping 5 percent on weakness in gas ovens (down 11.5 percent) and microwaves (down 9.7 percent), offsetting a 16 percent spike in electric ovens.
Providing a snapshot of the majap industry is the AHAM 6, an amalgamation of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven categories, which rose 6.6 percent for the month, to 3.7 million units, and 9.2 percent for the year, to nearly 17.7 million units.