WASHINGTON — The springtime
spike in factory shipments of major appliances
began to wane in May as the
federally funded “cash for appliances”
rebate programs ran their course.
According to the latest wholesale
data compiled by the Association
of Home Appliance Manufacturers
(AHAM), total majap unit shipments fell
11 percent in May from the prior month,
although they exceeded the year-ago
period by 6 percent.
Leading the pack was food preservation,
up 14.6 percent year over year on
a nearly 17 percent surge in refrigerator
volume, to some 865,700 units. But
fridge growth fell from the 37 percent
gain reported for April.
Also maintaining double-digit increases
was kitchen cleanup, led by an
18 percent gain in built-in dishwashers,
to about 480,100 units. This offset a
12.5 percent plunge in compactor shipments,
leaving the total category with a
10 percent increase, outpacing the 8.3
percent gain in April.
The monthly pace of the home-comfort
category picked up as well, moving
from a 2.9 percent increase in April to a
5.9 percent gain in May as warm weather
moved in. In a reversal from the past
two years, room air led the sector with a
nearly 10 percent increase over the yearago
period, while shipments of dehumidifiers fell 13 percent.
Taking it on the chin were the cooking
and home-laundry categories, which retreated
from their low double-digit spikes
in April. Cooking volume rose 1.8 percent
in May, as an 8.5 percent drop in microwave
oven shipments offset a better than
34 percent increase in cooktop volume.
In laundry, washer volume was flat
while shipments of gas dryers rose 10.2
percent. That limited total category
growth to 1.4 percent in May, compared
with a 13 percent increase in April, as
total laundry units slipped 12 percent
month to month, to 1.1 million pieces.
The core AHAM six categories (washers,
dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators,
freezers, ranges and ovens) rose 10.6
percent year over year.