Factory shipments of major appliances hit a plateau in November following several months of significant gains.
According to the latest data from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), November wholesale sales rose a scant 0.9 percent to less than 5.4 million units, compared to over 5.3 million SKUs during the prior-year period.
Among core categories, cooking and home laundry both took it on the chin with flat 1.1 percent gains for the month. Laggards within cooking included built-in gas ranges, shipments of which fell 19.2 percent to some 6,500 units, and gas-fueled surface cooking units, which slipped 5 percent to approximately 36,900 units. The strongest showing within the sector came from freestanding gas ranges, which saw a 4.2-percent uptick that month.
Laundry, by contrast, was flat across the board, with washers and dryers both showing the same 1.1 percent sales gains, although gas dryers edged out their electric brethren with volume hikes of 4.4 percent versus 0.2 percent.
The strongest returns were realized by dehumidifiers, up 19.4 percent, and the kitchen clean up contingent, which realized an 8.7 percent gain in November to just under 1.1 million units. The big winners there were disposers, up 10.9 percent; compactors, up 8.4 percent; and built-in dishwashers, up 6.9 percent. Dragging down the category were portable dishwashers which fell 4.6 percent for the month.
Putting in a moderate performance was food preservation. The sector's total sales gain of 3.5 percent was driven largely by upright freezers, sales of which soared 13.8 percent to some 94,700 units. Chest freezers, by comparison, fell 8.8 percent while refrigerators enjoyed a bullish 4.3 percent increase to 738,700 units.
The most telling results, however, continue to come from the so-called AHAM 6, an amalgam of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer and built-in range categories. Together some 3.4 million units of those white goods shipped in November, representing a 3 percent gain over the year-ago period. Year-to-date sales for the 11 months through November also rose 3 percent for the AHAM 6.
Industry Shipments Of Major Appliances* (In Thousands Of Units)
2003 11 mo.
2002 11 mo.