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Appliance Shortages Loom Consumers Urged To Get On Waiting Lists

An appliance shortage is emerging due in part to global demand and Australian being seen as a small market.

Earlier this year it was the shutdown of plants in Asia that was impacting the Australian market now demand in markets such as the USA, Europe and Asia is impacting supply according to discussions with several appliance manufacturers and distributors who don’t want to go on the record.

The US Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers said that global shipments of major appliances year-to-date were down 7 percent in June — an improvement from 10 percent in May.

Shipments from major brands like Bosch, LG, Samsung, Electrolux, and LG remain spotty, with refrigerators, washers and dryers, air conditioners and dehumidifiers especially hard to get.

Refrigerator shipments were down 10 percent in June, while freezers were down 13.4 percent. Oven were down 7 percent over the same period, according to AHAM.

Some observers claim that the shortages will see retailers offering less in the form of discounts in the last quarter.

During the past 6 months Australian retailers have witnessed a surge in demand according to Harvey Norman franchisees “Especially for small appliances as more people cook at home”.

A JB Hi Fi executive said that they have “witnessed a surge in demand online for appliances especially for cleaning and cooking appliances” they said.

The shortages aren’t immediately obvious for shoppers browsing Web sites of retailers such as Bing Lee, The Good Guys and Harvey Norman, which appear to show in-stock appliances. But that changes when they’re ready to check out and secure a delivery date.

Retail executives are now saying that “It’s important for people to be on waiting lists and not to wait for back orders,”.

“When you look online it appears that there are all these items to choose from, but it’s absolutely not the case,” said Shoshanna Erlich, who was shopping for a new refrigerator in July after her old one broke down. “The moment of truth is when you ask for a delivery date.”

Because of the pandemic, most appliance factories and warehouses are operating at 50 percent capacity. Employees at LG’s new washing-machine factory in the USA have been working in staggered shifts since late March. Production pauses hit the plant for two weeks in April, and it was closed several weekends for extra disinfecting, LG spokesman John Taylor said.

“We are not over the hump yet,” Taylor said. “The shortages and high demand are expected to continue for several more months.”

Manufacturers are making some headway working through back orders, according to new data from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

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