WASHINGTON – Factory shipments of major appliances were up 5.9 percent in June, to 7.6 million units, as dealers loaded up on kitchen wares in advance of the big Independence Day sales period.
Indeed, according the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), which tracks monthly vendor shipments, cooking volume swelled to more than 2 million units, representing an eye-popping 21.5 percent rise year over year.
Most of the increase can be attributed to microwave ovens, which sizzled with a 36.3 percent increase for the month. Cooktops also turned in a respectable performance, with electric models up 8.5 percent and gas-fueled versions ahead 5.5 percent.
The gains helped offset steep declines in gas ovens, shipments of which fell nearly 25 percent year over year.
June’s second-largest gainer was kitchen clean-up, ahead 8.1 percent on a 48.7 percent surge in portable dishwashers. Meanwhile, dealer demand for traditional built-in dishwashers was none-too shabby neither, with shipments up nearly 16 percent.
Unfortunately for business, the core home laundry category could barely break a 1 percent increase in June, reflecting flat washer sales and an 8.2 percent decline in gas dryers.
What’s more, food preservation and room air, two categories that traditionally step up to the plate in summertime, fell somewhat short last month. Refrigerator shipments rose by only a modest 2.5 percent over last year, while unit volume for standalone freezers fell 5.2 percent.
So too for ACs, which are still working down last year’s backlog. Shipments of air conditioners were down 1.2 percent, while dehumidifiers took it on the chin with a 14.3 percent decline.
Shipments for the AHAM 6, comprised of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven categories, were ahead 3.9 percent for the month, and 3.4 percent year to date.