Major appliance shipments in virtually all product categories continued to decline in March with an overall drop of 11.4 percent year-over-year.
The slump, revealed in the latest vendor data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), is considered to be a result of the perpetuating struggle within the housing market.
The cooking category saw the biggest losses in March compared with the previous year, with shipments declining 15.2 percent overall to just over 215,300 units. The category's dropoff was led by the microwave oven sector, which saw a 21.2 percent shipment decline to about 118,700 units compared with the same month in the previous year.
The home-comfort category, the year-over-year loss-leader in February, was the runner up in March in terms of shipment declines. Its shipments declined 11.5 percent to approximately 234,200 units compared with March 2006.
Despite being the second-highest losing category, the home comfort realm actually contains the only product that showed shipment increases on both a year-to-year and year-to-date basis. Dehumidifiers saw shipments increase a whopping 56 percent from last March, up to approximately 186,500 units compared with about 119,500 units in 2006. Also, year-to-date shipments increased 54.4 percent by the end of March compared with the same period the year before.
Upright freezers saw a less than 1 percent increase in shipments this year to date compared with last year with approximately 162,300 overall units shipped. However, the category saw a 4.4 percent decrease in shipments in March to 68,800 units shipped compared with 71,900 units in March 2006.
Finally, the food preservation category saw an 11.2 percent decline in shipments in March compared with the year before to about 116,500 units. The category was dead even with the home-comfort category on a year-to-date loss basis . Both categories saw a 9.9 percent decline in shipments year over year through March.
Industry Shipments of Major Appliances
(In Thousands of Units)