`White Goods' Becoming A Misnomer

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PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. -- It may be time to find another term for "white goods," especially when 13 percent of new model refrigerators bought by consumers are black.

According to NPD Intelect, which has begun tracking sales of major appliances by color, less than two-thirds of new model refrigerators sold in April were white. The balance, or 36 percent, sold to consumers came in almond (14 percent), the aforementioned black, bisque/biscuit (7.5 percent) and stainless steel (1.3 percent).

Although almond was the second most popular color after white, pricing suggests that the hue may be falling out of favor. NPD reports that new almond models, which were priced at an average of $529.41, actually sold for less than conventional white, which cost consumers $552.28 on average.

By contrast, the recently introduced bisque tone (also known as biscuit or linen), commands a one-third price premium over plain vanilla refrigerators. The neutral's average price tag: $738.53.

An even greater price premium is paid for refrigerators of the stainless steel variety. New models in April were selling for four times the price of new whites, although they only accounted for 5.1 percent of dollar volume.

NPD Intelect, a sales tracking service, did not indicate whether color refrigerators command a higher price for their tone alone or for the added features that may be included on color models.


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