WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Major appliance manufacturers took a hit in August, with factory sales falling in nearly every category compared to year-ago shipments, according to figures issued by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).
For the month, suppliers shipped 4.3 million units in total, down 4.9 percent from August 1999. However, year-to-date shipments of 44.4 million units were up 5.4 percent over the same period last year.
Cooking was the only category to see an improvement over last August, with the 1.4 million units shipped representing an increase of 3.4 percent. All other categories fell for the month: home laundry by 11.3 percent, to 994,000 units; home comfort products by 11.2 percent, to 177,000 units; and refrigerators and freezers by 7.5 percent, to 947,000 units.
August shipments of core appliance categories (washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers and ranges) were down 8.2 percent to 2.9 million units. Nevertheless, the so-called "AHAM 6" managed to eke out a year-to-date gain of 2.5 percent, representing 25.1 million pieces.
The toughest blow was felt by the room air conditioner category, which plummeted 52.5 percent last month to 75,000 units shipped, compared to factory sales of 157,000 units during August 1999.
The 11.2 percent decline in total home comfort shipments was softened by a 142 percent gain in factory sales of dehumidifiers. Some 103,000 units were shipped last month.
The air conditioner and dehumidifier figures have been adjusted to reflect a "significant error in data submissions" by a survey participant in those two categories, AHAM reported. The air conditioner revisions are from January 1998 to present, and the dehumidifier revisions are from January 1999 to present. AHAM estimates that the errors understated total industry shipments in the room air category by about 5 percent and in the dehumidifier category by about 25 percent.