Factory shipments of major appliances were up nearly 7 percent in March, ending the first quarter of 2016 on a high note.
Driving the gains were a buildup in room air inventory in advance of the summer months, and across-the-board strength in clothes washers, dishwashers and refrigerators.
According to the latest monthly tally by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), vendor shipments of ACs rose 13.5 percent year over year, to some 1.6 million units, in a sharp reversal of last year’s inventory overhang, when shipments fell nearly 31 percent.
Also heading into spring on a head of steam was kitchen cleanup, up 9.1 percent; food preservation, ahead 8.3 percent; and laundry, rising 7 percent.
In contrast, the cooking category appeared to be on a low setting last month, with shipments rising just 1.7 percent.
Year to date, total factory shipments are up 3.9 percent through April 2, which puts the industry behind vendors’ full-year shipment forecasts of 5 percent growth.