Air-conditioner retailers facing supply shortage

Demand for air conditioners rises when the weather warms up. But consumers in Japan may face difficulties getting new equipment this year due to a supply shortage.

People are being advised to test their units, and replace or repair them if there is any problem before the hottest days of the summer arrive.

Some manufacturers say their production and shipment volumes have been affected by the global chip shortage and the coronavirus lockdowns in Shanghai.

Major air-conditioner maker Daikin Industries says it conducted a survey of 600 consumers in April. It found that about 59 percent of them said they never check their air conditioners before summer.

A home electric appliance store in Tokyo says many models cannot be procured from wholesalers.

The store is trying to order from suppliers earlier than usual and keep 100 units in stock. That's five times more than a usual year.

But staff at the store do not know when the products will be delivered. They even see the possibility of running out of air conditioners once the summer starts.

The head of the retailer says generally his stores get the product they ordered on the following day. But he says that is not the case this year.

Koumei Denki President Takano Toru says "It's hard to get new products although we have placed orders.
I've never experienced a situation like this in May or June."

Takano says people who are using old models and are concerned about their performances should consider buying new ones while stores still have air conditioners in stock.