Which Appliances People Bought During the Pandemic

By Alan Wolf, YSN


  • The majority of Americans purchased at least two appliances during the pandemic.
  • But only 19 percent bought a major appliance.
  • For those who did, refrigerators and washers were their top two choices.

No one knows better than BrandSource members that there’s been a year-long run on all manner of appliances.

With folks largely homebound for the better part of 14 months, that finicky refrigerator or cranky cooktop quickly became grating, leading to record purchases of replacement appliances.

But what exactly did people buy? The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the vendor trade group, wanted to know, and so commissioned a survey of more than 4,000 Americans this past winter. And the results are kinda surprising.

Despite record appliance sales for many BrandSource dealers, only 19 percent of respondents reported buying a major home appliance. For those who did, refrigerators and clothes washers were among the top two purchases, with microwave ovens a close third.

The next biggest sellers, in order of popularity, were:

  • Clothes dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Oven/cooktop or range
  • Standalone freezers
  • Wine refrigerators

Another 22 percent of those surveyed said they purchased a vacuum cleaner or other floorcare product, with upright vacuums leading the pack.

Purchases of air treatment products were cited by 16 percent of respondents, with air cleaners topping the COVID-period list, followed by humidifiers, portable fans, portable heaters and portable air conditioners.

The balance of appliance purchases was comprised of personal care products like electric toothbrushes (35 percent) and small kitchen appliances like coffee makers and countertop air fryers (32 percent), AHAM said.

The latter jibes with another finding: 48 percent of respondents reported cooking at home more often during the pandemic, and 42 percent said they expect to continue cooking at home more often even after COVID passes.

Many of the respondents also reported purchasing more than one appliance. Most (38 percent) bought at least two products during the pandemic and 17 percent purchased at least three, while 1 percent of those surveyed acquired six or more appliances.

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