Domestic shipments of home appliances were worth ¥307.32 billion ($2.87 billion) in June, the highest value in over 23 years and 5.8 percent more than a year earlier, an industry body said Tuesday.
Shipments increased for the first time in nine months following the end of a state of emergency imposed over the novel coronavirus, marking their highest monthly value since logging ¥317.0 billion in March 1997, according to the Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association.
The state of emergency was lifted for all prefectures in late May, after being issued in April to allow the government to ask some businesses to close and request that people refrain from nonessential outings to curb the spread of the virus.
Buying ahead of the expiry of the government’s reward points program for cashless payments at the end of June as well as ¥100,000 cash handouts to buoy personal spending dented by the pandemic also helped boost shipments in the month, it said.
By item, shipments of air conditioners increased 9.5 percent to ¥148.20 billion and those of washing machines rose 4.4 percent to ¥34.86 billion, while refrigerators and vacuum cleaners saw falls in demand.
In the January to June period, shipments fell 5.3 percent from a year earlier to ¥1.21 trillion, due to pandemic-necessitated closures of shops and stay-at-home requests.
The decrease also followed a surge in demand in the first half of last year ahead of the rise of the consumption tax from 8 percent to 10 percent in October 2019.
Through the six-month period, refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners saw a falloff in demand. But as more people stayed home, some appliances such as those used in cooking, air purifiers and dehumidifiers, drew more purchases.
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