Factory unit shipments of major appliances fell 2.9 percent in June, led lower by high stockpiles of room air conditioners and weakness in refrigerators and gas ovens.
According to the latest data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), room air shipments tumbled 22.3 percent year over year, to some 956,000 units, while wholesale sales of dehumidifiers fell nearly 37 percent in June.
Merchants caught short by last year’s AC stock-outs bought more robustly in advance of the 2012 season, retailers, distributors and buying group execs reported, leading to weak roomair comps (see TWICE, July 16).
Meanwhile, shipments of full-size refrigerators fell 6.4 percent, to 974,300 units, and are down 5.5 percent for the year. In contrast, chest-style standalone freezers enjoyed a nearly 9 percent spike in June, compared with an 18 percent decline in freestanding upright models.
Also taking it on the chin was gas ovens, shipments of which declined 12.5 percent from the year-ago period. Ironically, every other cooking category saw gains this past June, led by an 8 percent surge in electric ovens and a nearly 17 percent pop in gas cooktops.
Elsewhere, home laundry shipments rose 3.8 percent, which included a 3.2 percent increase in washers and a 6.2 percent hike in electric dryers. Once again, gas models fell into disfavor, as shipments of gas-fueled dryers dipped 2 percent.
June’s biggest gainer was kitchen cleanup, which rose 8.5 percent on a 13.2 percent spike in built-in dishwasher shipments, which stands in contrast to an otherwise flat year for the category.
Providing a snapshot of business activity in June is the AHAM 6, an amalgam of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven categories. Shipments for these key product sectors rose 2.2 percent that month, but are still down 4.7 percent year to date.