Unit factory shipments of major appliances rose 3.9 percent in August, reflecting a late summer surge in dishwasher and refrigerator demand.
According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), nearly 5.7 million white goods SKUs were shipped in August, lifting the industry's year-to-date totals to 50.7 million units — representing a 3.5-percent gain for the eight-month period year-over-year.
Leading the charge in August was the kitchen cleanup category, which grew 9.7 percent to 1.2 million units. The biggest gainers there were built in dishwashers, whose shipments soared 16 percent year-over-year, and trash compactors, which increased 9.8 percent.
Also enjoying a late-season resurgence was food preservation, up 8.1 percent to some 1.3 million units. Top movers and shakers therein included upright freezers, ahead 13.1 percent, and the core refrigerator category, which rebounded from a month-long slump to gain 7.8 percent, representing shipments of some 987,200 units.
Entering positive territory for the first time in weeks was the home comfort category, encompassing room air and dehumidifiers, which had taken it on the chin amid a cool, wet summer. While sales of the latter continued to fall (down 40 percent in August), AC enjoyed a 42,300-unit gain, driving year-over-year room air shipments up 77.4 percent for the month. Nonetheless, AC is still down 11.7 percent year-to-date.
Also turning in a respectable performance was home laundry, whose 4.6 percent gain was largely driven by a 6.2 percent increase wholesale sales of electric dryers.
Falling into negative territory was the cooking category, which slipped 2.4 percent year-over-year on weakness in microwave oven sales. That sector declined 8.1 percent, offsetting gains in gas cooktops (up 19.7 percent) and built-in electric ranges (up 18.3 percent).
Business was brighter for the AHAM 6. The amalgam of the core refrigeration, range, laundry and dishwasher categories was up 7.7 percent, representing shipments of 3.8 million units.
Industry Shipments of Major Appliances*
(In Thousands of Units)
2004 8 mos.
2003 8 mos.