WASHINGTON — Factory shipments of major appliances climbed 0.6% in August, even though the home-laundry category was down 6.7%. There appears to be little momentum left from the federal stimulus rebate program.
The latest figures compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) also show that the industry’s six core categories — washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges and ovens — actually dropped 2.7% from August 2009, when shipments dropped 7.3%.
The weakest category was home laundry. The biggest losers (within the categories) are portable dishwashers, down 21.7%; gas ovens, down 13.7%; and electric dryers, down 11.4%.
Even as sales slow, the industry remains up 3.6% for the year, with some 42.4 million units delivered to retailers and builders through Aug. 28.
The major appliance industry, buoyed by federally funded appliance rebates, was active earlier this year. The $300 million cash-for-appliance initiative peaked in April, followed by a staggered, state-by-state roll-out that began in February.
April appliance sales, for example, spiked 12.1% to 6.3 million units. Home laundry sales shot up 13% in April, with gas-powered dryer sales boosting the category with a nearly 28% increase.
In August, overall sales fell to slightly less than 4.4 million units.
AHAM is the primary source of statistics on the production and shipment of major appliances in the United States. It releases monthly reports that summarize industry activity on a product or product category level.