WASHINGTON — Are consumers ready to buy more washers and dryers, as well as other appliances? Factory shipments of major appliances rose 6.5% in February as retailers accumulated inventory before expected price hikes in April.
Total shipments hit 4.8 million units, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), reversing January’s 4% year-over-year decline, when wholesale units totaled less than 3.6 million units.In the laundry category, shipments were stagnant. Washer shipments edged up 1.8% to approximately 630,800 units, while dryer shipments fell nearly 4%.February shipments of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven categories (the AHAM 6 category) increased 1.5%, to 2.8 million units, but were down 5.1% year to date through Feb. 26.What else are consumers expected to purchase? February’s biggest gainer was room air conditioners, which saw shipments rise 46.3% to nearly three-quarters of a million units. Home-comfort humidifiers shipments dropped 24.3% to 52,200 units.The figures, compiled by AHAM from manufacturer data, include shipments for the U.S. market whether imported or domestically produced. Export shipments are not included.