by Kyle D. Mirka
In case you haven’t heard, the price of washers and dryers is going up. All manufacturers have announced that they will be INCREASING the prices of their washers and dryers, with most beginning their price increases on April 5, 2018.
If you need a new washer or dryer, now is the time to buy!
These price increases all began with LG and Samsung being accused of “dumping” their laundry machines in the United States. Dumping occurs when one or more manufacturers export a product to another country at a price below the normal price. The objective of dumping is to increase market share in a foreign market by driving out competition and thereby creating a monopoly situation where the exporter will be able to unilaterally dictate price and quality of the product. While these accused Korean manufacturers didn’t manage to push out ALL other laundry manufacturers they did manage to push out a few and have gained tremendous market share.
When these manufacturers were first accused, and then found guilty of this practice, the courts would impose strict penalties and or tariffs for products that were built in Korea. So LG and Samsung, in an attempt to avoid these penalties, would simply move their manufacturing and or shipping location to other low cost production locations outside the US that were not affected by the courts’ ruling(s). This moving of production locations happened multiple times.
It was this activity that finally led the United States Government to impose a tariff on all imports of most large residential washing machines at a rate of 20% on the first 1.2 million units annually, then 50% on those imported after that.
In mid 2017, with the threat of tariffs, LG and Samsung both announced new appliance manufacturing facilities in the United States and in November started bringing more than double the amount of washers into the United States than they had during the previous year. In addition, once the tariffs were officially decided, these manufacturers have moved up the date in which those facilities will become operational.
Even with the stockpiling of these affected models and the shifting of production to the Unites States, these two manufacturers have announced that their retail prices on laundry will be going up. Domestic manufacturers, who have been keeping their own retail prices artificially low to try and remain competitive to their Korean competitors, have chosen to also raise prices. All of the major manufacturers, including but not limited to LG, Samsung, Whirlpool, Maytag, GE, Electrolux and Fisher & Paykel, have all announced price increases that typically range from $100 to $200 per set, with one manufacturer increasing their prices by $400 for the pair. A number of manufacturers have notified us that most of these price increases will take effect beginning April 5, 2018.
What we have found most interesting about these price increases is that they don’t just affect front load washers, which is what the tariff applies to, but they are being applied to top load washers and dryers as well. So, just about every washer and dryer that will be sold in the United States is going to increase in price.
Regardless of how anyone feels about the value of manufacturing appliances in the United States or whether tariffs are a good idea or not, laundry prices are going to increase. If you, or a friend is need of new laundry equipment, buy it now or pay more for it later.
Even if you beat the price increase, be aware that parts for these affected machines are also subject to the tariff. This will mean that if you need a part later on for your washing machine expect to pay much more for it than you would have if this tariff had not gone into effect.