Surge in home appliance sales creating shortages amid COVID-19 pandemic

ByLeslie Brinkley KGO logo
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Surge in home appliance sales creating shortages amid COVID-19
Supply and demand are off kilter this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating an unprecedented demand for kitchen and laundry appliances.

In this pandemic year, supply and demand are off kilter. That's led to an unprecedented demand for kitchen and laundry appliances.

Some retailers are reporting a two month wait for certain brands of refrigerators or dryers.

It's a fact -- people are going wild with home improvements. There was a run on freezers and refrigerators in the spring. With factories scaling back and consumers in a buying frame of mind, a shortage of major home appliances is now materializing.

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Some of the purchases are based on necessity

"More people are replacing their appliances because they are getting more use than they used to get," said Airport Home Appliance's General Sales Manager John Raynor.

Raynor added the lifespan for most appliances is seven to eight years, but he said if you're working from home and opening the fridge 20 times more per day and cooking from home more often, you might need repairs. There's a big backlog in repair services as well.

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"Many appliances are back ordered," Raynor said. "We happen to have the benefit of a large selection."

Other stores report they're selling floor models to desperate buyers who can't wait.

Those appliances, like washers and dryers and ovens, have contributed to a 9 percent increase in the cargo coming over from Asia in the last few months into the Port of Oakland.

On many days ships have to anchor because berths aren't immediately available.

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"You're even seeing shortages of very prosaic things like the trailers to put the containers on," said Mike Zampa with the Port of Oakland. "While we have this surge it may take a little longer to get your cargo."

Retailers suggest being flexible about the brand and the features on a home appliance to score one quickly.

With people continuing to work remotely, the extremely high demand for kitchen and laundry appliances is projected to continue over the next six to eight months.

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