Home Household machines Japanese home appliance shipments hit 24-year high in 2020 amid pandemic

Japanese home appliance shipments hit 24-year high in 2020 amid pandemic

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Domestic appliance shipments in 2020 hit their highest level since 1996, driven by strong demand for air purifiers during the novel coronavirus pandemic, an industry body said Monday.

Shipments were worth 2.5 trillion yen ($24.4 billion), up 1.0% from a year earlier, with more teleworkers and many spending much of 100,000 yen in cash from the government for home appliances, according to the Japan Electricity Manufacturers Association.

This figure marked a year-on-year increase for the fifth consecutive year.

By product, shipments of air purifiers jumped 56.8% to a record high of 88.8 billion yen, while kitchen appliances such as toasters and hot plates saw growth double digits with more people staying at home, the association said.

Air conditioner shipments fell 0.7% in value to 805.9 billion yen, but their sales volume rose 0.6% to a record 9.87 million units. The volume of shipments increased even as stores temporarily closed or shortened their opening hours during the first declared state of emergency against the virus in April and May last year.

Shipments of refrigerators fell 2.0% to 443.1 billion yen, and those of washing machines fell 0.1% to 382.5 billion yen. The volume of shipments of these two items decreased for the first time in five years.

The outlook for overall home appliance shipments is “uncertain due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” an association official said.

In December alone, domestic shipments of home appliances rose 13.6 percent from a year earlier to 249.6 billion yen, up for the third consecutive month.

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