The U.S. appliance industry recovery continues, but the road is rocky, judging by February factory unit shipment numbers released by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.
Shipments in the AHAM 6 category of appliances (washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges, and ovens) were up again. AHAM reported 2,692,3000 units shipped in the month ending Feb. 27, 2010, up 5.0% from the 2,564,000 units shipped in Feb. 2009. For the year so far – January and February – AHAM 6 shipments are up 2.9%.
Cooking appliances have shown healthy growth in the first 2 months of 2010 – except for microwave ovens.
• Electric cooking shipments (ranges, ovens, and cooktops) were up 4.7% over Feb. 2009 to 326,1000 units. Electric cooking is up 4.3% year-to-date.
• Gas cooking shipments (ranges, ovens, and cooktops) were up 6.1% over Feb. 2009 to 193,600 units. Gas cooking is up 5.4% year-to-date.
• Microwaves, however, dropped 9.0% from Feb. 2009 to 710,700 units. Microwaves are down 8.6% year-to-date.
Home laundry was up overall 2.8% in Feb. 2010 compared to Feb. 2009:
• Feb. 2010 washer shipments were up 0.4% from Feb. 2009 to 605,700 units. Washers are down 1.7% year-to-date.
• Dryer shipments were quite strong in February at 521,700 units shipped, up 5.8% over Feb. 2009 (electric dryers were up 5.8%, gas dryers up 1.6%). Dryers are up 4.4% year-to-date.
In the Kitchen Clean-Up category, trash compactors continue a steep slide – but compactors are less than 1% of the category. The category shipped 828,400 units in Feb. 2010, enjoying 5.4% growth compared to Feb. 2009. The category is up 2.1% year-to-date.
• Disposers shipped 413,200 units in Feb., putting it up 5.0% over Feb. 2009. Disposers are up 2.1% year-to-date.
• Dishwashers shipped 412,200 units in Feb. 2010, up 6.3% over Feb. 2009. Dishwashers are up 2.4% year-to-date.
The Food Preservation category shipped 681,500 units in Feb., up 76% over Feb. 2009. The category is up 4.7% year-to-date.
• Refrigerators shipped 557,000 units, up a strong 12.9% over Feb. 2009. Refrigerators are up 8.8% year-to-date.
• Freezer shipments are not a highly accurate economic indicator, but the truth is that consumers seem to buy freezers when they're feeling the economic pinch. Freezer shipments were often the only category that showed monthly growth during the worst days of the recession. With the recession over in the eyes of most consumers, freezer shipments are showing declines. Freezers shipped 124,600 units in Feb. 2010, which puts it down 11.2% compared to Feb. 2009. Freezers are down 10.4% year-to-date.
AHAM's Home Comfort category is definitely not in recovery:
• Room air-conditioners shipments were down 26.6% in Feb. 2010 to 511,200 units. Room A/C is down 45.9% year-to-date.
• Dehumidifier shipments were down 56.6% to 69,000 units shipped. Dehumidifiers are down 28.5% year-to-date.
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