Following a tepid summer and strong September, unit factory shipments of major appliances nearly doubled down month over month in October, charging ahead 7.6 percent as white-goods retailers stocked up for the all-important holiday selling season.
Leading the rally among large appliances was home laundry, up 10.3 percent overall, according to the latest vendor stats from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). Washers led the category with a 12.5 percent surge in shipments, to some 833,600 units, followed by dryers with a solid 7.7 percent gain.
Coming in a close second was cooking, which rose 9.7 percent on a 16 percent surge in electric range shipments. That, plus a 7.3 percent gain in microwave ovens, helped offset a modest 1.3 percent rise in wholesale sales of wall ovens.
Third place went to kitchen cleanup, up 4.4 percent to 1.2 million units. Here, built-in dishwashers led the parade, up 6.9 percent, while portable models and disposers sank by 23.5 percent and 22.3 percent, respectively.
Last month’s laggard was food preservation, which put in a flat performance. Here, full-size refrigerators posted a chilly 1.1 percent decline and standalone freezer shipments froze at 0.3 percent.
But top dog in October was home comfort, where shipments of dehumidifiers were up 48 percent and room air volume was off the charts, going from a paltry 200,000 units last year to about 38,500 pieces last month.
For a better perspective, AHAM’s so-called AHAM 6, comprised of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven product categories, rose a collective 7 percent in unit volume in October.
Total shipments for the month: 5.7 million units, while year-to-date shipments through Oct. 29 were up 2.1 percent, to 62.8 million units.