Factory sales of major appliances rebounded from their summertime slump to rise 6 percent in September, according to the latest data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).
Wholesales unit sales were solid across the board, although the cooking category led the resurgence in white goods with a 9.3 percent gain in factory shipments, AHAM said. Top sector performers included built-in electric ranges, which surged 12.6 percent; microwave ovens, which were ahead 7.7 percent; and freestanding electric ranges, sales of which grew 5.3 percent year-over-year.
The gains helped offset a 14.4 percent decline in wholesale sales of built-in gas ranges in September.
Also enjoying robust business was home laundry, which enjoyed a 6.4 percent jump in wholesale sales. Electric dryers led the charge with a 9.8 percent spike in factory shipments, followed by washers which rew 5.3 percent to some 893,200 units. Gas dryers were the sole category laggard, with shipments of 172,400 units virtually flat at 0.2 percent growth.
Tying for third place in the September stakes at 4 percent each was kitchen cleanup and food preservation. The former was buoyed by a 16.7 percent gain in portable dishwasher sales, to some 14,600 units, while built-in dishwashers were up 7 percent in factory shipments and compactors gained 6.3 percent year over year. Those gains were tempered by a slim 0.5 percent increase in garbage disposer sales.
In food preservation, a 7.5 percent hike in refrigerator shipments, to approximately 1.2 million units, was offset by a 12.5 percent decline in sales of chest-style freezers.
The sole category showing a sales loss in September was home comfort, whose AC sector continued to suffer the impact of an unusually mild summer with a 42.7 percent decline in unit shipments. Sales of its category mate, dehumidifiers, continued to hold up with a 10.8 percent gain year over year.
Finally, the AHAM 6, an amalgam of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer and range categories posted their own 5.6 percent gain year-over-year in factory shipments.
Industry Shipments of Major Appliances*
(In Thousands of Units)