Household appliances including dishwashers, refrigerators, washers and dryers are all said to be low in stock nationwide, and that’s forced some consumers to wait months for their orders to be fulfilled, according to a report in NPR.
The shortage is, like mostly everything else these days, being blamed on the coronavirus pandemic.
Steve Sheinkopf of Boston-area Yale Appliance told NPR that his store saw a rush on freezers in March when the pandemic took hold as people looked to hoard food.
“We sold more freezers in two days than we did all last year,” Sheinkopf said. “People were storing stuff because we thought this was the end of times. We needed food.” ‘
The problem has been exacerbated by factories scaling back production or shutting down during the initial stages of the pandemic as employers looked to protect their workers from harm. There was also a belief that unemployment would lead to lower demand for household appliances. But instead, the opposite has happened, and demand has grown. Meanwhile, global shipments of appliances has fallen by 7% this year, NPR reported.
The growing demand is due to people sheltering at home, which results in them using their appliances more. As such, more appliances break down due to frequent use. Other homeowners are seeking upgrades for their appliances as they spend more time at home. And now that the housing market recovery is well under way, people who buy new homes also want to kit them out with new appliances.
NPR said that several major appliance manufacturers have warned of backlogs on several brands and models that could go on until 2021.
“I have never experienced a year where there were shortages like we’ve seen this year,” Sandy Tau, owner of Long Island, N.Y.-based AHC Appliances, told NPR. “We have freezers that are on back order since the end of March that have still not come in.”