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.