Friday, October 7, 2011

The $12.3B LED market: TVs today, lighting coming fast

Our new report on the LED market is out, and here's the scoop: LED revenues are on track to peak at $16.2 billion in 2014, thanks to sales into TV backlights. It will briefly dip as that segment saturates and prices erode, then lighting will pull it back up again.

Early applications in high-brightness LEDs were in vehicles, traffic signals, and signs, in the 1990s. Then in the 2000s, LEDs replaced cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) in mobile appliances, such as mobile phones. As that segment satruated and prices declined, LEDs replaced CCFLs for larger screen TVs. It was just in time. The overall LED market more than doubled from 2009 to 2010, to $11.2 billion. It should reach $12.3 billion in 2011.

Meanwhile, LEDs are already being used in lighting, but mostly in niche applications like architectural lighting and so forth. But growth going forward will be at 33%. The first big wave will be for replacement bulbs. These are now in Safeway stores for less than $10, but for that price you don't get much. A bulb that gives off the equivalent of a 60W incandescent would be more interesting, at that price. Then adoption could really take off.

Another wave will come with commercial and industrial luminaires. Luminaires are fixed light sources, with the LEDs built in (you have the replacement bulbs for the standard fixtures). There are already some sales of commercial-industrial luminaires, but when the business case is more compelling, that will take off. By business case I mean the life cycle cost, including labor to replace it.

Yet another wave will be in residential luminaires. Strong adoption there takes even longer, since individual homeowners don't strictly rationalize their lighting life cycle costs and anyway, the labor to replace bulbs is free. So, the old fixtures stay in place for a long time.

But I digress--the new report actually talks about all the segments, high-power and low-power LEDs, different wavelengths, different regions, prices, market share--all that good stuff. Oh, and if you are interested in the markets for the electronic drivers, GaN material, lighting, and other topics, we have reports on them too.

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