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Major Appliance Biz Begins 2017 With A Bang

The major appliance industry got off to a solid start in the new year.

According to the latest monthly vendor data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), factory shipments of white-goods were up 6.4 percent in January, to approximately 5.4 million units.

What’s more, the numbers were up for every major product category year over year, as retailers stocked up for President’s Day sales and built up room air inventory for summer.

Leading the charge was home laundry, ahead by 10.2 percent in units, as washer shipments rose nearly 15 percent and gas dryers also showed a 10.2-percent gain.

Second-place honors went to cooking, as a 10.5 percent spike in microwave ovens and an 8.2 percent increase in electric range shipments helped offset flat wall-oven demand, and drove total category performance up 8.4 percent.

Home comfort placed third, up 7.3 percent, as a 22 percent surge in ACs offset a 41 percent drop in dehumidifier shipments.

In contrast, refrigerators cooled, with shipments of full-size fridges up a more modest 3.3 percent in January.

Also taking it on the chin was the kitchen clean up category, which posted a mere 1.5 percent gain as a 3.3 percent decline in disposers, and this year’s exclusion of trash compactors from the AHAM reports, offset a 7.3 percent hike in dishwasher shipments last month.

Still, the AHAM 6 – an amalgam of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven categories — told the essential story, with shipments up 7.1 percent despite two less days in the tracking cycle (Jan. 1-28, 2017 vs. Jan. 1-30, 2016).