Factory shipments of home appliances rose 3.9 percent in March, led by strong demand for cooking and laundry products.
The two sectors were virtually neck and neck, up 10 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively, in unit volume year over year, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) reported.
Heating up the cooking category were microwave ovens, up 12 percent, and electric ranges, up 10.2 percent for the month.
In laundry, washers cleaned house with a 12.1 percent increase, representing some 1.1 million units shipped. Dryers also pulled their weight, with electric models up 7.6 percent, while gas-heated versions rose a more modest 4.7 percent.
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Coming in third place was kitchen cleanup, up 6.2 percent on a 7.2 percent spike in dishwasher shipments in March.
Cooler results were seen in refrigeration, with full-size refrigerators edging up nearly 4 percent while freezer shipments fell 2.3 percent, for a total category increase of 2.7 percent.
Taking it on the chin was the home comfort class, where a 61 percent gain in wholesale sales of dehumidifiers failed to offset a nearly 20 percent drop in room air shipments, leaving the sector down by 11.4 percent year over year.
Despite back-to-back gains of 4 percent in February and March, year-to-date volume remains essentially flat due to a precipitous 12 percent drop in January shipments to retailers.
Total 2018 majap volume stands at 19.3 million units through March 31, AHAM said.
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