For all the sturm und drang that the major appliance industry experienced in 2018, the year actually ended with a bang.
According to the latest wholesale report from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), factory shipments of white goods were up 4.5 percent in December, to some 7.3 million units, representing the second-strongest month of the year. (First place went to April 2018, when shipments rose 13 percent in advance of steep vendor price hikes.)
The December activity was supercharged by the room air category, as retailers loaded up in advance of the warmer weather to come, sending shipments up 72 percent year over year. Portable dishwashers also put in a strong performance, with shipments rising 22.6 percent.
Other standouts included:
- upright freezers, up 7.8 percent;
- full-size refrigerators, ahead 5 percent;
- cooking, increasing 3.5 percent on strength in microwave ovens and gas cooktops; and
- washers, up 3.8 percent.
Still, the December gains barely mitigated the pains of a rocky year for majaps, and the industry ended 2018 back where it started, with annual shipments of 79.2 million units.