Washington – Factory shipments of major appliances were
essentially flat in October, edging up just 0.6 percent to 4.3 million units.
But the data, compiled by the Association of Home Appliance
Manufacturers (AHAM), reveals continued softness in core categories that was
masked by high double-digit gains in dehumidifiers and chest-style freezers.
Shipments of dehumidifiers rose 93 percent year over year to
some 54,500 units for the four weeks ended Oct. 29, while chest-style freezer
volume increased nearly 70 percent to 134,600 units, compared to 79,500 shipped
in October 2010.
Also posting strong monthly showings were portable
dishwashers (up 9.3 percent) and microwave ovens (up 8.3 percent), while trash
compactors, garbage disposal units and gas-fueled cooktops managed low
The balance of product categories tracked by AHAM all
experienced unit volume declines last month.
Room air led the retreat with a decrease of 54.2 percent
from last year, followed by gas ranges which fell by 10.1 percent to about 189,000
units shipped. Gas ovens similarly slipped by nearly 9 percent, while electric
cooking products cumulatively declined by 3.5 percent.
Within laundry, washer volume was flat at negative 3 percent
although dryer shipments tumbled by nearly 6 percent.
Elsewhere, shipments of refrigerators were essentially flat
with a 0.9 percent gain, while unit volume for built-in dishwashers fell 3.6
The AHAM 6, a composite category comprised of the core
washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven categories,
was static with a negligible 0.8 percent retreat.
For the 10 months through Oct. 29, total shipments slipped
0.1 percent, to 52 million units, while the AHAM 6 posted a 4.4 percent
decline, led down by a 10 percent drop in gas oven volume and mid-single digit
declines in gas ranges, electric ovens, refrigerators and laundry.