Factory shipments of major home appliances ticked up 1.6 percent in August, to about 5.7 million units, as retailers and distributors began building up inventories ahead of the holiday season.
The tally, compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the industry trade group, was a big improvement over July, when factory shipments fell 2.4 percent.
Leading the gains in August was home laundry, which was up a resounding 18.3 percent in unit volume year over year. The increase was comprised of a nearly 13 percent hike in washers and a 26 percent spike in dryers.
Also putting in a strong performance were full-size refrigerators. Factory shipments rose 4.7 percent for the product category in August, compared to a 1.7 percent decline in July.
But manufacturers weren’t entirely back in the black: the cooking sector cooled nearly 4 percent with the biggest declines in electric cooktops, while with the summer season more than halfway over, room air shipments slipped more than 7 percent from August 2018.
Year to date, total shipments are still down 4.7 percent compared to last year, but the good news is that the core AHAM 6 categories – washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, ranges and ovens – together were up a solid 8.2 percent for August.