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
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