Port Washington, N.Y. - Retail sales of major appliances were up by the double digits in both dollars and units for the first five months of the year.
According to new data from The NPD Group, majap volume was up 16 percent in dollars and 12 percent in units from January to May 2010, compared with the year-ago period.
Mark Delaney, NPD's home division director, attributes the spike to a combination of pent-up demand, returning consumer confidence, aggressive promotions and last season's federally funded majap-rebate program.
"Beginning last August we began to see signs of a recovery for appliances, but the new year confirmed that we're truly on a growth trajectory," Delaney said. "Pent-up demand started it, but now we're seeing results driven by consumer confidence and rebate programs augmented by strong retailer promotions."
While the increases were largely seen across the board, the biggest gains came from dishwashers, refrigerators, clothes dryers and washers, which all showed double-digit dollar and unit growth over the first five months of 2009.
NPD also found that consumers are upgrading their appliances and investing in better models. For example, 27 percent of consumers who purchased a refrigerator between January and May upgraded from their previous unit, compared with 20 percent who did so during the prior-year period.
In the washer category, consumers responded best to high-efficiency top-load models, which are now more competitive with feature-filled front load units.
"It's encouraging to see such positive results in a sector that's been struggling for so long," Delaney said. "If retailers and manufacturers execute well with their new product offerings and we see sustained improvements in the housing sector, the major appliance industry is poised for a solid year."
NPD's point-of-sale data tracks refrigerators (excluding compacts), washers, dryers, ranges, dishwashers, microwave ovens, ovens, cooktops, freezers, room air conditioners and range hoods.