Factory shipments of major appliances rose a modest 3 percent in August compared to the same month last year according to the latest data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). The data, which included shipments in the U.S. market through Aug. 26, 2006, also showed that overall major appliance shipments were up 4.7 percent year to date.
The most dramatic changes took place within the home comfort category which, despite its overall rise of 43.7 percent, saw both the biggest gains and loses among its components. The increase was led by the room air conditioner sector which saw an 83.9 percent rise, with shipments of approximately 225,500 units. In contrast, dehumidifiers saw a 7.2 percent loss year-over-year, with only about 89,900 units shipped.
The cooking category also heated up with an overall 4.4 percent increase in shipments on both a year-to-date and year-over-year basis. The most dramatic increase within the category was in built-in electric ranges, which saw an increase of 13.9 percent with some 80,800 shipments in August. Freestanding ranges in the electric and gas categories grew 2.5 and 3.3 percent respectively, with unit shipments of about 377,600 and 253,400 in August. In fact, among the gas ranges, freestanding units was the only subcategory that saw an increase as gas built-ins and surface cooking units decreased 6.2 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. Also within the cooking category, microwave ovens saw a 4.8 percent hike in shipments, to nearly 1.1 million units in August.
Refrigerator shipments were up 4.4 percent for the month, compared to the prior-year period, and the category’s year-to-date shipments rose 5.9 percent. August also proved to be a good month for freezers, with an overall increase of 5.5 percent, led by chest-type models which rose 6.2 percent to about 112,500 units.
The kitchen clean up category, comprised of disposers, dishwashers and trash compactors, saw the biggest decrease in August, down 2.4 percent from the same month last year. The drop was led by disposers which decreased 4.6 percent when compared to last August.
The AHAM 6 category — comprised of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, and free-standing and built-in range categories — increased 1.5 percent in August and 2.8 percent year to date. Shipments hit 30.5 million units for the trailing eight months.
Industry Shipments of Major Appliances*
(In Thousands of Units)