Major appliances manufacturers stretched their string of consecutive 1999 monthly shipment increases to four in May, as core products set the growth pace for the first time this year with a double-digit rise, according to just-issued AHAM figures.
The association reports that total May unit shipments rose 8.5% from the same month last year to 5.01 million from 4.62 million. Through the year's first five months the industry shipped 25.4 million appliances, up 11.7% from the year-earlier 22.8 million.
Core appliances (ranges, washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers) set the May growth pace with a 10.2% rise to 2.81 million from 2.55 million, with double-digit shipment gains recorded for ranges, dryers, refrigerators and freezers. Shipments of core appliances through the first five months were up 9% to 14.7 million from 13.5 million, with particular long-term strength shown by electric ranges, dryers, built-in dishwashers and freezers.
In the non-core arena (microwave ovens, disposers, compactors, room air conditioners and dehumidifiers), May shipments stood at 2.21 million, up 6.4% from the year-earlier 2.07 million. For the first five months non-core shipments were up 15.7% to 10.7 million from 9.27 million.
The May non-core slippage performance stemmed primarily from the essentially level shipments of room air conditioners, until now the sector's star performer and still the growth leader through the first five months.
Meanwhile, AHAM has upgraded its forecast for total-1999 shipments to show an increase, replacing an earlier prediction of a decline, and says the outlook for 2000 is for a slight slippage from this year's record level.