Factory shipments of major appliances rose 6.5 percent in February as retailers snapped up available inventory in advance of April’s planned vendor price hikes.
Total shipments hit 4.8 million units, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) reported, reversing January’s 4 percent year-overyear decline, when wholesale sales totaled less than 3.6 million units.
Last month’s biggest gainer was room air, which saw shipments soar 46.3 percent to about 747,700 units.
Conversely, its home-comfort category mate, dehumidifiers, was the biggest loser in February, as shipments sank 24.3 percent to approximately 52,200 units.
In between, kitchen cleanup bested the other main product classifications with a 5.9 percent gain, led by a 9.8 percent surge in wholesale sales of dishwashers, to 452,800 units.
Elsewhere, demand was less robust. Cooking came in with a 2 percent gain, driven by a 23.1 percent spike in electric surface cooking units, which helped offset a 9.7 percent decline in shipments of electric and gas-fueled ovens.
In laundry, washer shipments edged up just 1.8 percent to approximately 630,800 units, while dryer shipments fell nearly 4 percent.
Food preparation put in a relatively flat performance, with refrigerators up 1 percent and freestanding freezers down 1 percent. Unit shipments totaled 571,100 and 123,400, respectively.
Taken from a different perspective, February shipments of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven categories, as captured by the trade association’s amalgamated AHAM 6 category, increased 1.5 percent, to 2.8 million units, but were down 5.1 percent year to date through Feb. 26.
The figures, compiled by AHAM from manufacturer data, include shipments for the U.S. market whether imported or domestically produced. Export shipments are not included.