Major appliances’ malaise continued through February, when factory shipments of white goods fell 9.9 percent in unit volume year-over-year, with declines seen across the board.
The falloff, based on the latest vendor data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), reflects continued weakness in sales of new and existing homes.
Leading the industry lower in February was the home comfort category, which fell 16.9 percent to about 984,400 units. While shipments of dehumidifiers skyrocketed more than 80 percent to nearly 90,000 units, a 21.2 percent plunge in factory sales of room air conditioners, from 1.1 million to 894,500 units, unraveled the segment.
The next largest lag was in kitchen cleanup, which dropped 11 percent year-over-year to 1 million units. Portable dishwashers were most problematic, plummeting 21.2 percent to about 9,300 units, followed by disposers (down nearly 15 percent), and compactors (off over 11 percent). The core built-in dishwasher segment posted a more modest 6.5 percent decline, to just over a half million units.
Home laundry closely trailed kitchen cleanup in rate of decline, sliding 10.7 percent to 1.3 million units in total. Gas dryers took the biggest hit, falling 11 percent to 107,400 units.
The cooking category fared somewhat better, falling 7 percent to 1.6 million units. The sector was dragged down by a 13.6 percent decline in shipments of gas fueled surface cooking units, with gas models overall sliding 10 percent. By contrast, shipments of electric surface cooking units slipped only 1.1 percent and electric SKUs in total fell 7.7 percent, to 445,400 units. Year-over-year comparisons of built-in and freestanding units, and ranges and ovens, are no longer possible due to AHAM’s reorganization of those product categories within its cooking program.
Holding up best during the February downturn was food preservation, which declined 3.6 percent in overall shipments. Refrigerators, however, declined 3.9 percent to 694,500 units.
The AHAM 6, a composite category comprised of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven category, declined 7.9 percent to 3.2 million units in February and was down 9.5 percent for the first two months of the year.
Industry Shipments of Major Appliances¹
(In Thousands of Units)