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How To Buy Appliances During A Supply Crisis

Steve Sheinkopf  |  July 06, 2020  |  10 Min. Read

Appliances  |  Appliance Service  |  Appliance Delivery

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If you are shopping for appliances to be delivered soon, you will have problems finding them in stock.

Unlike the previous four recessions in my 34 years at Yale, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit product supply and demand. Many factories and warehouses had temporary shutdowns due to contamination.

There is an increase in demand for appliances, yet many companies have not recovered to handle the volume.

Refrigerators, laundry, dishwashers, and grills have the highest demand with lower output.

In this article, you will learn about product shortages by the appliance manufacturers and what's contributing to the supply crisis. Then I will show you how to navigate these problems to buy a decent set of appliances.

Pro Tip: Don't be completely brand loyal. Be feature loyal and flexible to many brands.

First, let's look at the problems.

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Problems In Supply Chains

Yale-Appliance-Warehouse-Campanelli---Stoughton (1)Yale Appliance Warehouse

 

We are now in month seven of the Coronavirus since it started in China. It has hit the supply chain differently at dissimilar times.

Many factories and warehouses all over the world were shut down due to contamination.

Upon reopening now, they have to socially distance at 6 feet, decreasing production.

At this writing, much of the South and West are peaking.

Many of the appliance factories are located in affected areas like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arizona.

The Coronavirus has been a problem since early January and will probably continue to be for a while.

Any imports will most likely be affected because California is the point of entry for Asian appliance brands like Samsung, LG, and Haier.

Appliance Store Problems

dishwashers-at-yale-appliance-in-hanoverDishwashers at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Added to supply problems is the nature of the unique structure of the appliance supply chain.

Many appliance stores or dealers operate on a just-in-time inventory basis, meaning you buy the appliance, then they pick it up locally and deliver it to you.

Given there is no local inventory anywhere, an appliance dealer now has a 6-month supply issue.

Many local and regional stores will have a hard time surviving this.

Larger stores and box stores forecast and automate around promotions.

However, automating around demand is problematic with no demand for three months and then a spike in late June/July.

Appliance stores need aggressive purchasing and tons of warehousing along with certain flexibility across many brands. That can't be built in a week.

Appliance Promotions

samsung-kitchen-package-at-yale-appliance-in-hanover-1

Samsung Appliance Kitchen Package at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Some brands are continuing regular promotions like July 4th and instilling that you need to "buy now" yet can't deliver a product until the fall.

It's like they've run out of food but keep inviting people over to dinner. Their marketing seems to be disconnected from production. So be careful.

Appliance Critical Supply Problems By Product Category:

French-door-counter-depth-refrigerators-at-yale-appliance-in-hanoverFrench Door Refrigerators at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

While we see supply shortages in nearly every category, we are seeing these categories getting hit the worst.

  1. Outdoor Grills: People are cooking more at home, and after months of being indoors, they just want to be outside. Grills are the perfect opportunity to be outside and still be productive.
  2. Thirty-six-inch Full depth refrigeration, top mount refrigeration, and 33-inch refrigeration: People were shopping for food in bulk due to the pandemic. Hence, an increase in freezers, secondary refrigerators, or larger refrigerators has spiked.
  3. Laundry all categories: Washers and dryers are a special case. Against faltering supply, there is skyrocketing demand. They are the third most popular product at Yale after grills and vacuums.

Appliance Supply Problems By Manufacturer:

Bosch
  • Dishwashers
  • Over-the-Range Microwaves
  • Wall Ovens
Electrolux (We don’t sell Electrolux appliances)
  • Laundry
GE
  • Refrigeration
  • Over-the-Range Microwaves
LG
  • Laundry
  • Refrigeration
Lynx
  • All Grills
Samsung
  • All Products
Speed Queen
  • Laundry
Sub-Zero & Wolf
  • Pro Ranges
  • Integrated Built-In Refrigerators
Thermador
  • Pro Ranges
  • Dishwashers
Weber
  • Almost every grill is nearly out of stock nationally.
Whirlpool Corp.
  • Refrigeration
  • Electric Ranges
  • Laundry

How To Buy Appliances During A Supply Crisis?

electric-freestanding-ranges-at-yale-appliance-in-hanoverAppliances on Display at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Last week, I invited my staff to dinner and cocktails down at a local restaurant. We were quarantined together from early March until June.

We worked at 8 AM - 9 PM in two shifts. I figured that was worth a reward (plus I like them as people).

I was also looking forward to having some scallops or another fish dish. It's their specialty.

Anyway, there was no fish, but a pasta Bolognese, a chicken sandwich, and another entrée.

I asked about the fish.

"What's on the menu is what we could buy from our suppliers," they said.

 

I had the chicken.

Going forward, you should have the same mentality that most items are not in supply in every industry.

I want to show you a few reliability graphs to highlight your next purchase:

Dishwasher Reliability For 2020

  Service QTY Shipped QTY Service Ratio
Asko 103 190 54.21%
Jenn-Air 188 493 38.13%
Bosch Benchmark  25 70 35.71%
Fisher & Paykel  56 193 29.02%
Miele  185 903 20.49%
Maytag 2 10 20.00%
Gaggenau  16 104 15.38%
Thermador 126 872 14.45%
KitchenAid 90 688 13.08%
Café Appliances 3 25 12.00%
Bosch  398 3573 11.14%
Samsung 134 1297 10.33%
LG  5 81 6.17%
Cove 2 44 4.55%
Ge Appliances 1 37 2.70%
Whirlpool 38 1471 2.58%
Grand Total  1377 10166 13.55%

Front Load Washer Reliability July 2019 to June 2020

  Service Qty Shipped Qty  Service Ratio
Maytag 177 558 31.72%
LG Electronics 164 1909 8.59%
Miele 28 428 6.54%
Samsung 37 658 5.62%
Whirlpool 14 300 4.67%
GE Appliances 19 424 4.48%
Grand Total 448 4285 10.45%

 

Gas Range Reliability For 2020

  Service Qty Shipped Qty Service Ratio
Bosch Benchmark 13 25 52.00%
Jenn-Air 109 323 33.75%
Blomberg 6 18 33.33%
Fisher & Paykel  2 8 25.00%
KitchenAid 55 237 23.21%
Café Appliances 6 41 14.63%
LG Electronics 3 24 12.50%
Bosch Appliances 29 233 12.45%
Whirlpool  22 197 11.17%
Premier 2 24 8.33%
Samsung 76 1170 6.50%
GE Profile 2 71 2.82%
Grand Total 352 2450 14.37%

Electric Range Reliability For 2020

  Service Qty Shipped Qty Service Ratio
Jenn-Air 28 63 44.44%
KitchenAid 31 89 34.83%
GE Profile 2 18 11.11%
Café Appliances 3 28 10.71%
Bosch Appliances 10 154 6.49%
Samsung 27 754 3.58%
Whirlpool 12 1269 0.95%
LG Electronics 0 62 0.00%
Premier 0 19 0.00%
Blomberg 0 17 0.00%
Avanti 0 17 0.00%
Grand Total 114 2513% 4.54%

You are looking at our reliability charts or the amount sold divided into the amount serviced for the reliability percentage.

Many of you will debate about which brand to buy.

Many of the most common comparisons you would have chosen normally, for example, are LG Vs. Whirlpool laundry, KitchenAid Vs. Bosch dishwashers, and Café Appliances Vs. Samsung gas ranges.

Many of these brands are similar in terms of overall reliability.

Don't be brand loyal unless you have plenty of time to wait.

Instead, be feature loyal across 3-4 brands with a few models to mitigate supply issues.

 

Pick the features you want the most, and then buy that brand.

Have questions? Click here to check out our Learning Center.

Should You Buy Off-Brand Appliances?

Probably not, unless they have decent reviews or can be repaired easily. In some cases, they could be a useful purchase.

Do your research first. There are some good opportunities to buy decent appliances at more competitive prices, especially if the major brands are out of stock.

Beko is a brand worth exploring, for example.

They load a dishwasher with features for $499. Their refrigerators are modestly priced, as is their compact laundry.

Appliance Prices

In a scarce market, you would think prices will skyrocket. That hasn't happened per se.

However, these promotions of 10-35% around July 4th, Labor Day, and Black Friday may not happen to a great extent, either.

They may promote, but in many cases will not have the product to deliver.

Many of the lower-priced products will be scarce.

For example, top mount refrigerators are tough to find because manufacturers are placing the compressors in more expensive French door and side-by-side refrigerator styles.

It's the same compressor, but there is more revenue on the more expensive item.

With a whole kitchen package, always try to stay with one brand if you can to maximize your rebate potential.

Buying Appliances Online

By the way, just because you added that French door refrigerator to the cart online doesn't mean it's in stock.

If you buy online, call to schedule immediately. If you cannot schedule, then cancel it before being hit with a restocking charge.

Read reviews on each store before entering your card to buy an item. Use that logic to buy anything online.

How To Buy An Appliance During A Supply Crisis: Key Takeaways

cafe-appliance-kitchen-package-at-yale-appliance-in-hanover-1GE Kitchen Appliance Packages at Yale Appliance in Hanover

 

Like we said earlier, don't be brand loyal. Be feature loyal.

Buy the features you want from any reliable, available brand. If Samsung or Maytag doesn't have laundry units available, buy comparable GE, Whirlpool, or LG.

Off-brands have the potential to save you money. They usually have inventory because they are not normally in-demand items. Availability will probably change, but do your research first.

Overall, for the next six months, if you are expecting fish, you may end up with chicken.

Same with appliances, you may end up with a whole different package of brands. Instead of a Samsung or LG kitchen, you may end up with KitchenAid or GE.

If you pick the best features for how you live and use your appliances, you will not notice much of a difference.

Have questions? Click here to check out our Learning Center.

Additional Resources

Download the Yale Appliance Buying Guide covering all topics of appliances and lighting. Over 820,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our appliance buying guide

Related Articles:

WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Steve Sheinkopf

My goal has always been simple: I want Yale to be the best retail experience anywhere. I have tried to create a compelling environment for customers and employees alike.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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