• Kyodo

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Domestic shipments of home appliances in Japan hit their highest level in 24 years in fiscal 2020, boosted partly by robust demand for air cleaners as people stayed at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, an industry body said Tuesday.

Shipments in the year that ended in March rose for the first time in two years to ¥2.61 trillion ($24 billion), up 6.5% from the previous business year, according to the Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association.

The increase was also led by people upgrading their home appliances using the government’s ¥100,000 cash handouts for all people in the country as it sought to help the economy weather the pandemic, the association said.

By product, shipments of air cleaners doubled to ¥109.4 billion, topping ¥100 billion for the first time on a fiscal year basis. Shipments of hot plates logged a 56.8% rise to ¥11.6 billion as more people chose to cook at home.

Air conditioner shipments increased 3.5% from the previous fiscal year to ¥818.2 billion, while shipments of refrigerators advanced 3.1% to ¥452.5 billion.

But shipments of electric shavers dropped 13.1% to ¥43.4 billion, the association said.

The association expects the overall shipments to decline to ¥2.48 trillion in fiscal 2021 in reaction to robust demand in the previous year.

In March alone, shipments of home appliances rose 8.9% from a year earlier to ¥238.9 billion, increasing for the sixth consecutive month.

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