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Washers and Dryers - US - June 2012

The washer and dryer market has experienced a nearly uninterrupted slide since 2007 due primarily to continued weakness in the housing market. While stabilization in real estate will provide badly needed support to sales, marketers looking for more robust growth must convince consumers to trade up to newer, more efficient, and more advanced models. To help marketers meet this challenge, this report provides insight into the washer and dryer market from a number of different angles, including:

  • Total category and segment sales estimates and forecasts with insight into the economic and demographic factors driving marketplace results
  • What motivates consumers to buy new washers and dryers and what features and benefits are most compelling in the purchase process
  • An examination of recent innovations in efficiency, performance, and convenience
  • Information sources that consumers rely on most when deciding what brand or model to buy
  • Analysis of the changing retail landscape
  • An exploration of the mindset that consumers bring to the laundry room and its implications for the washer and dryer market

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                  • Executive Summary

                      • The market
                        • Weak housing market holds down washer and dryer sales
                          • Figure 1: Total U.S. sales of washers and dryers fan chart forecast with best- and worst-case scenarios, 2006-16
                        • Washers outpace dryers by a small margin
                          • High-efficiency washers gain amid declining overall category sales
                            • Figure 2: Total U.S. sales of washers and dryers, by segment, 2009 and 2011
                          • Market factors
                            • Declining homeownership rates
                              • Figure 3: Homeownership rate*, 2007-12
                            • Declines particularly sharp among younger adults
                              • Figure 4: Q1 homeownership rate*, by age of head of household, 2006-12
                            • Housing market shows glimmers of hope in 2012
                              • Figure 5: Sales of existing and new single-family homes, 2007-12
                            • Retail channels
                              • Home centers only channel to gain share
                                • Figure 6: Retail channel share of U.S. sales washers and dryers, 2009 and 2011
                              • The consumer
                                • Washer and dryer ownership widespread
                                  • Figure 7: Washer and dryer ownership, by household income, March 2012
                                • Single-machine purchases on the rise
                                  • Figure 8: When washer/dryer acquired, March 2012
                                • Replacing broken down machine most common reason for purchase
                                  • Figure 9: Main reason for most recent purchase, by when washer/dryer acquired, March 2012
                                • Reliability is a nearly universal purchase consideration
                                  • Figure 10: Importance of product attributes, very important, March 2012
                                • Interest in energy and water efficiency nearly universal
                                  • Figure 11: Interest in special features for a new washer/dryer, March 2012
                                • Recent purchasers consult a wider variety of sources
                                  • Even as online shopping grows, in-store experience as important as ever
                                    • Figure 12: Information sources used in most recent purchase and found very helpful, most recent purchase in past two years, March 2012
                                  • What we think
                                  • Issues in the Market

                                      • Is the market in line with longer-term shifts in the housing market?
                                        • How important is energy efficiency to washing machine shoppers?
                                          • A secondary motivation in the decision to purchase in the first place
                                            • Important in deciding what to buy, but increasingly becoming an expectation
                                              • Less critical in day-to-day use
                                                • How important is reliability to washer and dryer shoppers?
                                                • Insights and Opportunities

                                                  • Taking ownership of reliability
                                                    • Branding opportunity
                                                      • Could a rebounding renovation market spur washer and dryer sales?
                                                        • Figure 13: BuildFax Remodeling Index, seasonally adjusted rate, 2008-12
                                                      • The human element
                                                      • Inspire Insights

                                                          • Inspire Trend—Make it Mine
                                                            • Minimize Me
                                                            • Market Size and Forecast

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Weak housing market holds down washer and dryer sales
                                                                  • Replacement sales have become more important to market
                                                                    • Price increases have modest impact on 2011 sales
                                                                      • Figure 14: Total U.S. sales of washers and dryers, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                      • Figure 15: Total U.S. sales of washers and dryers, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2006-16
                                                                      • Figure 16: Manufacturers’ shipments of laundry appliances, by segment, 2007-11
                                                                    • Fan chart forecast of washer and dryer sales
                                                                        • Figure 17: Total U.S. sales of washers and dryers fan chart forecast with best- and worst-case scenarios, 2006-16
                                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Washers and dryers and the housing market
                                                                          • Figure 18: Ownership and past 12 month purchase of washers and dryers, by homeownership status, October 2010 - November 2011
                                                                        • Overall homeownership continues to trend down
                                                                          • Figure 19: Homeownership rate*, 2007-12
                                                                        • Decline in homeownership particularly sharp among younger adults
                                                                          • Millennials moving away from homeownership?
                                                                            • Figure 20: First quarter homeownership rate*, by age of head of household, 2006-12
                                                                          • Housing market weakness extends through 2011
                                                                            • Glimmers of improvement in early 2012
                                                                              • Figure 21: Sales of existing and new single-family homes, 2007-11
                                                                            • After years of declines, median household income began to stabilize in 2011
                                                                              • Figure 22: Median household income in inflation-adjusted dollars, 2000-10
                                                                            • After wavering, consumer sentiment on the upswing
                                                                              • Figure 23: Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment (ICS), 2007-12
                                                                          • Competitive Context

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Laundromats attract renters
                                                                                • Dry cleaners offer service
                                                                                  • Rising Tide?
                                                                                  • Segment Performance

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Washers outpace dryers by a small margin
                                                                                        • Figure 24: Total U.S. sales of washers and dryers, by segment, 2006-16
                                                                                        • Figure 25: Total U.S. sales of washers and dryers, by segment, 2009 and 2011
                                                                                    • Segment Performance—Washers

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • High-efficiency washers gain amid declining overall category sales
                                                                                          • With new DOE mandate, communicating performance and convenience will be key
                                                                                            • As high efficiency becomes the norm, other factors will be more important as differentiators
                                                                                              • Figure 26: Total U.S. sales of washers, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                                          • Segment Performance—Dryers

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Dryer sales performance lags that of washing machines
                                                                                                • Energy efficiency harder to come by in dryers, but marketers still look for an edge
                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Total U.S. sales of dryers, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                                              • Retail Channels

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Home centers only channel to gain share
                                                                                                    • A variety of other retailers compete
                                                                                                      • Walmart tests major appliance program
                                                                                                        • Figure 28: U.S. sales of washers and dryers, by retail channel, 2009 and 2011
                                                                                                      • Handful of big retailers dominate major appliance market
                                                                                                        • Sears stays on top but loses major appliance share
                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Sales of major appliances* at top 100 retailers, 2009 and 2010
                                                                                                      • Retail Channels—Appliance Specialty Stores

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Specialty stores face weak demand and price pressure from bigger players
                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Total U.S. sales of washers and dryers in appliance specialty stores, 2006-16
                                                                                                          • Retail Channels—Home Centers

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Lowe’s leads home centers in major appliances
                                                                                                                • Low prices, store traffic, renovation trend position home centers for further gains
                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Total U.S. sales of washers and dryers in home centers, 2006-11
                                                                                                              • Retail Channels—Department Stores

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Sears marketing addresses threat in major appliances from home centers
                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Total U.S. sales of washers and dryers in department stores, 2006-11
                                                                                                                • Leading Companies

                                                                                                                    • Whirlpool Corporation (Whirlpool, Maytag, Amana)
                                                                                                                      • General Electric (GE)
                                                                                                                        • Electrolux (Electrolux and Frigidaire)
                                                                                                                          • LG Electronics
                                                                                                                          • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Energy efficiency becoming a common denominator
                                                                                                                                • New feature showdown continues
                                                                                                                                  • Convenience and time management
                                                                                                                                    • Cleaning performance
                                                                                                                                      • Performance enhancements for high-efficiency operation
                                                                                                                                        • Self-cleaning features address mildew issue
                                                                                                                                          • Connected appliances
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Samsung WF457 WiFi-enabled washer
                                                                                                                                        • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                                                          • Overview
                                                                                                                                            • Electrolux builds U.S. brand on convenience and ease
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 34: Electrolux “Date Night” TV ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Frigidaire emphasizes convenience
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Frigidaire Affinity “Effortless Laundry” TV ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Maytag highlights cleaning performance, reinforces dependability image
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Maytag “Dirty Doll” TV ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                            • LG pushes innovation at the brand level
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 37: LG “Something for everyone” TV ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Heavy ad-spending Sears defends its turf
                                                                                                                                              • Holding off home centers “cold hard facts”
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 38: Sears “Cold Hard Facts” TV ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                              • Replacing a “money magnet”
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Sears “Money Magnet” TV ad, 2011
                                                                                                                                              • Washers and dryers online
                                                                                                                                                • Most brands have small social media presence
                                                                                                                                                • Washer and Dryer Ownership

                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                    • Ownership of washers and dryers widespread
                                                                                                                                                      • Younger adults less likely to own, but still an important market
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Washer and dryer ownership, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                      • At higher income levels, ownership is nearly universal
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Washer and dryer ownership, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                    • When Washer/Dryer Acquired and Type Purchased

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • One in four owners bought washer and/or dryer in past two years
                                                                                                                                                          • Single-machine purchases on the rise
                                                                                                                                                            • Better together: complementary benefits could bolster dual purchases
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: When washer/dryer acquired, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                            • Younger owners more likely to have purchased recently
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: When washer/dryer acquired – Nets, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                            • Recent purchasers report having purchased high-efficiency machines
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Type of washer/dryer purchased in past two years, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Main Reason for Most Recent Purchase

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • Replacing broken down machines most common reason for replacement
                                                                                                                                                                • First-time purchase and conservation more common among younger purchasers
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Main reason for most recent purchase, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Income appears to have little impact on purchase motivation
                                                                                                                                                                  • Accelerating the purchase cycle means stressing new benefits
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 46: Main reason for most recent purchase, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                  • Water and energy efficiency rising in importance as purchase motivators
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Main reason for most recent purchase, by when washer/dryer acquired, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                • Importance of Product Attributes

                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                    • A wide variety of factors drive choice
                                                                                                                                                                      • Interest in reliability is a common denominator
                                                                                                                                                                        • Price and energy efficiency also important attributes
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Importance of product attributes, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                        • Women more likely to rate factors very important
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Importance of product attributes, by gender, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                        • Older consumers rate a wider range of attributes very important
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Importance of product attributes, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                      • Interest in Special Features

                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                          • Interest in energy and water efficiency nearly universal
                                                                                                                                                                            • New performance benefits draw interest, could help motivate trade-up
                                                                                                                                                                              • Some new tech features less likely to command a price premium
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Interest in special features for a new washer/dryer, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Women somewhat less likely than men to be interested in many special features
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 52: Interest in special features for a new washer/dryer, by gender, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Younger adults willing to pay more for special features
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 53: Interest in special features for a new washer/dryer, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Dry cleaning and wrinkle reduction of interest to high-income consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 54: Interest in special features for a new washer/dryer, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                              • Bigger households interested in broader array of features
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 55: Interest in special features for a new washer/dryer, by household size, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                            • Where Purchased

                                                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                • Sears holds top position but loses share to home centers
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Home appliance stores lose washer and dryer shoppers
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Where most recent purchase made, by when washer dryer was purchased, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sears still leads in all age groups
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Where most recent purchase made, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                • Purchase Behaviors and Attitudes

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Recent purchasers likely to initiate shopping with online research
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Few recent purchasers report “showrooming” or checking prices via mobile devices
                                                                                                                                                                                        • About one in 10 participated in rebates in past two years
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 58: Purchase behaviors and attitudes, by washer dryer ownership, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Information Sources

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Recent purchasers consulted a wider variety of sources
                                                                                                                                                                                            • More sources, more information to research
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Information sources used in most recent purchase, most recent purchase in past two years, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 60: Information sources used in most recent purchase, most recent purchase two years ago or more, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Younger purchasers consult a wider variety of information sources
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 61: Information sources used in most recent purchase, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes Toward Doing Laundry

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Exploring the laundry room mindset
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Laundry products seen as more essential to laundry success than appliances
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Water and energy efficiency are important, but clean, dry clothes are the bottom line
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Personal control more appealing than auto-everything
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Laundry seen as a chore, but ultimately an emotionally satisfying one
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Can this be love?
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 62: Attitudes toward doing laundry, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 63: Attitudes toward doing laundry, by gender, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Bigger households more deeply rooted in most laundry behaviors
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 64: Attitudes toward doing laundry, by household size, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Impact of Race/Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Blacks more likely to be making first-time purchases
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Main reason for most recent purchase, by race/Hispanic origin, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Blacks rate wide variety of product attributes very important
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Importance of product attributes, by race/Hispanic origin, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • On the whole, non-whites interested in a wider variety of features
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Interest in special features for a new washer/dryer, by race/Hispanic origin, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Blacks look to websites, salespeople, Hispanics rely on variety of sources
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 68: Information sources used in most recent purchase, by race/Hispanic origin, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Black, Hispanic appliance owners especially involved in laundry process
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 69: Attitudes toward doing laundry, by race/Hispanic origin, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Family Fabric Caregivers
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Demanding Experts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • No-nonsense Cleaners
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Disengaged Washers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cluster characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 70: Target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 71: When washer/dryer acquired – Nets, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 72: Type of washer/dryer purchased in past two years, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 73: Main reason for most recent purchase, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 74: Importance of product attributes, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 75: Interest in special features for a new washer/dryer, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 76: Purchase behaviors and attitudes, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 77: Information sources used in most recent purchase, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 78: Information sources used in most recent purchase, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 79: Attitudes toward doing laundry, by target groups, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cluster demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 80: Target groups, by demographic, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Men and women, with and without kids
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Moms focus on laundry load management features
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 81: Importance of product attributes, by gender and presence of children in household, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Dads express willingness to pay more for many special features
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 82: Interest in special features for a new washer/dryer, by gender and presence of children in household, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 83: Purchase behaviors and attitudes, by gender and presence of children in household, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Washer and dryer ownership
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 84: Washer and dryer ownership, by household size, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • When washer/dryer acquired
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 85: When washer/dryer acquired – Nets, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 86: When washer/dryer acquired – Nets, by household size, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Type bought
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 87: Type of washer/dryer purchased in past two years, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 88: Type of washer/dryer purchased in past two years, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 89: Type of washer/dryer purchased in past two years, by household size, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Main reason for most recent purchase
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 90: Main reason for most recent purchase, by household size, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Importance of product attributes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 91: Interest in product attributes, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 92: Importance of product attributes, by household size, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Where purchased
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 93: Where most recent purchase made, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 94: Where most recent purchase made, by household size, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Purchase behaviors and attitudes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 95: Purchase behaviors and attitudes, by gender, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 96: Purchase behaviors and attitudes, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 97: Purchase behaviors and attitudes, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 98: Purchase behaviors and attitudes, by household size, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Information sources
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 99: Information sources used in most recent purchase, most recent purchase in past two years, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 100: Information sources used in most recent purchase, most recent purchase in past two years, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 101: Information sources used in most recent purchase, most recent purchase in past two years, by household size, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Laundry attitudes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 102: Attitudes toward doing laundry, by age, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 103: Attitudes toward doing laundry, by household income, March 2012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Best Buy stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Bureau of Economic Analysis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Dell Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Electrolux Home Products - North America
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Federal Reserve System
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • General Electric Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Home Depot (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • International Greetings plc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • LG Electronics Inc (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Procter & Gamble Company (The)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Procter & Gamble USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Robert Bosch GmbH
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Sears Holdings Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Whirlpool Corporation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Washers and Dryers - US - June 2012

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                £3,277.28 (Excl.Tax)