As a side effect of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, home appliance manufacturers such as Whirlpool (WHR 4.12%) and retailers like Lowe's (LOW 1.80%) or Best Buy (BBY 5.86%) may profit from a new trend in purchases as people stock up on the freezers needed to store extra food during and after the outbreak.
According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, or AHAM, pandemic buying has boosted deep freezer sales by approximately 45% year over year during the first quarter. Anecdotal evidence from appliance store owners supports the figures. As The Spokesman-Review reports, Ryan Holzapple, a manager at Fred's Appliances in the Spokane, Washington area, says about freezers, "We usually sell about 200 a month. In March, we sold 800."
Another appliance store owner near the opposite coast, Paul Syktich in DuBois, Pennsylvania, told the Courier Express that both chest and upright freezers are selling out as rapidly as they arrive at his store, remarking, "Everybody's stockpiling meat and they are figuring out they need a bigger freezer."
According to research by the NPD Group, COVID-19 ignited massive demand increases for other appliances besides freezers between March 15 and April 28:
|Water filtration equipment||152%|
|Bread makers||400% (approx.)|
|Electric pasta makers||462%|
The NPD Group also notes over 80% of American households currently have baking materials like flour, butter, eggs, and milk stockpiled, driving demand for appliances to turn these ingredients into finished foods as people eat at home to avoid the coronavirus.
During the Whirlpool first-quarter earnings call, CFO Jim Peters noted that its sales product mix shifted in the direction of large appliances due to "selling more freezers, microwaves and lower-end refrigerators."