Major appliance retailers are feeling the heat, and loving it.
Last month’s thermometer-busting temperatures — including 23 all-time record highs — have led to a run on room air conditioners, as reflected in the latest factory shipment figures from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).
According to the industry trade group, wholesale sales of ACs were up 83.6 percent last month, to about 652,300 units.
By comparison, room air shipments rose a more modest 13.1 percent in July 2017.
The heatwave was welcome news to majap dealers, who count on the seasonal revenue to tide them through the slower summer months and to help foot the bill for fourth-quarter inventory.
This time, the AC surge helped offset soft demand that continued across core white-goods categories following a pre-price-hike buildup earlier this year.
The weakness was especially keen in home laundry, where washer shipments fell 6.8 percent last month and dryer volume was down 5.2 percent.
The cooking category also cooled, down 4.5 percent year over year on weakness in microwave ovens, where shipments were off by 7 percent.
The buying chill extended to refrigerators, with shipments down 3 percent to just under 900,000 units, although wholesale sales of standalone freezers rose 5.6 percent.
That, plus the added oomph from AC orders, helped put appliances into positive territory for July, with total factory shipments up 2.8 percent for month, though flat for the balance of the year.