Despite the continuing recession, the aftershock of Sept. 11, and a tepid holiday selling period, factory shipments of white goods continued their season-long climb in December.
According the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), unit volume of all major appliances rose 13.3 last month to 6.37 million products.
Leading the pack — and perhaps reflecting consumers’ renewed emphasis on home and hearth — was the cooking category, which soared 34.5 percent to 2.56 million units. Fueling category growth were microwave ovens, which rocketed 53.8 percent to 1.65 million units, followed by built-in electric ranges, shipments of which grew 15.9 percent.
Also hitting it out of the ballpark was food preservation, where a 45 percent hike in freezer shipments and an 11.5 percent rise in refrigerator sales helped boost the segment 17.7 percent over the prior-year period to 1.09 million units in total.
Not all was rosy in white goods however. Taking it on the chin was home laundry, down 3.3 percent as automatic washer sales stalled — falling 4.9 percent —and dryer shipments declined 1.4 percent.
Also suffering through the holiday season was the home comfort category, which plummeted 42.8 percent to 93 million units as a result of a 108.1 percent plunge in dehumidifier shipments.
Industry Shipments Of Major Appliances*
(In Thousands Of Units)