As sales of new and existing homes dropped during the past three years, sales of major appliances skidded as well. In 2009, so far, sales are down 15% and in 2008, sales dropped 10%. Thanks to a government rebate 776861_washing_machineprogram – think Cash for Clunkers – manufacturers may soon be advertising rebates for consumers who purchase Energy Star-rated appliances. The federal money will be made available beginning in late October 2009 and the funds will be disbursed to states governments which will actually release money to consumers.

During the downturn, manufacturers have been redesigning appliances. A recent Advertising Age article notes the following features may be promoted during this fall program:

  • The Green Angle – Appliances have become more energy efficient in response to consumer demands – especially washers and dryers
  • Mega-Appliances – As the size of the average house has increased, so have new appliances – especially dishwashers and refrigerators
  • High-Tech – Convection cooking, steam cleaning and air-purification are among the new features marketers will be promoting
  • Lifestyle Specific – Manufacturers have designed models to meet everyone’s needs – from the single guy living in an apartment to the mom who wants to play professional chef in an upscale kitchen

So whether consumers are finally tempted to upgrade appliances or just replace that worn out refrigerator, manufacturers and retailers will be trying to boost sales with new advertising programs this fall.

[Sources: Bulik, Beth Snyder. “White Goods Bank on Tech-Trend Turnaround”, Advertising Age, 9.21.09; Hartman, Brian. Cash For Refrigerators, ABCNews.com, 8.20.09]