WASHINGTON — Riding a wave of federally funded appliance rebates, the major appliance industry, which includes home washers and dryers, roared back to life in April, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), an industry trade group.
The $300 million cash-for-appliance initiative peaked in April, followed by a staggered state-by-state roll-out that began in February.
That effort, part of the Obama administration’s economic stimulus program, helped fuel a 12.1% spike in major appliance factory shipments in April to 6.3 million units, according to the latest wholesale sales data collected by AHAM. Shipments through the first quarter, however, rose 1.6%.
Home laundry and cooking appliances tied for third place with gains of 13% each. More specifically, in the home laundry category, gas-powered dryers led the pack with a nearly 28% increase, while the core washer category had an 11.1% rebound in April.
The big question is whether this sales rally can be sustained. Retailers are reporting little halo effect, however, as the state-managed programs conclude.
Providing a snapshot of the monthly results was the AHAM 6, a composite category comprised of washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges and ovens. The core products together mounted a nearly 20% April increase in factory sales, and were up 9.1% for the quarter.