WASHINGTON — Hot weather — plus the final effects of the major appliance stimulus rebates — resulted in a 9.4% increase in major appliance shipments in June, despite somewhat flat laundry equipment sales.
Vendors shipped 6.4 million units in June, bringing 2010’s first-half tally to 33.6 million pieces, an increase of 4% over the prior-year period, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). 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 home-comfort appliance category led the June “charge,” rising 43.7% year over year on a 65.6% surge in dehumidifier shipments and a 40.3% hike in room air units. However, these gains were offset by three consecutive years of declines, as evidenced by year-to-date shipments that were flat for air conditioners and dehumidifiers (down 3%).
The summer heat also boosted refrigerator sales, which rose 14.3% to 1.3 million units. Customers showed little interest in freestanding freezers, however, with factory shipments falling 10.4 for chest and upright configurations combined.
Third-place honors went to kitchen cleanup, with an 11% bump in dishwasher shipments leading to an 8.3% increase for the month.
Home laundry sales slumped to a distant fourth, up 4.3%, as weak demand for electric dryers offset a 6.7% surge in washer shipments.
What will the “post-rebate” period mean for home washer and dryer sales? The major appliance industry, riding a wave of federally funded appliance rebates, roared back to life 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 spiked 12.1% to 6.3 million units. Home laundry sales were up 13% in April, with gas-powered dryer sales boosting the category with a nearly 28% increase.