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iSuppli: Backlights drive LED market leap

Posted: 12 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:iSuppli report? cellphone backlights? LED market revenue?

After a moderate single-digit revenue growth in 2005 and 2006, the solid-state lighting industry is poised to propel LED revenue to a double-digit expansion rate in 2007, according to iSuppli.

The market research firm forecasts total LED market revenue will grow by about 13.7 percent in 2007 and will expand at a CAGR of approximately 14.6 percent between 2006 and 2012, to reach $12.3 billion. Global LED market revenue rose by only 2.1 percent in 2005 and by 8.7 percent in 2006.

These figures encompass all SMD and through-hole packaged LED lamps and alpha-numeric display LEDsincluding standard brightness, high-brightness (HB) and ultrahigh-brightness (UHB) LEDs.

A significant portion of this growth will be driven by UHB and HB LEDs used for lighting applications. In 2012, UHB LEDs will account for approximately 31 percent of total LED revenueup from 4 percent in 2005.

The attached figure presents iSuppli's forecast for the total LED market for 2006 and 2011.

Market drivers
"The new phase of LED growth will be driven by the continued strong demand for solid-state lighting for the backlighting of keypads and displays in mobile devices," said Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst with iSuppli. "It also will be propelled by new emerging markets for LEDs in the interior lighting of automobiles and in the backlighting of large-screen LCDs for TVs and notebook computers. Furthermore, continuous advances in solid-state lighting technology will allow LEDs to target new applications in the decorative-illumination and architectural-lighting markets."

LCD backlighting
For the immediate future, the backlighting of small-screen LCD displays and of keypads in mobile devices remains the single largest application market for LEDs. In 2007, this application will account for more than 25 percent of total LED market revenue.

Beginning in 2007, backlighting of larger screen LCDs for notebooks and for direct-view LCD TVs is emerging as the next big application for LCDs.

LCD backlight units (BLUs) still are significantly more expensive than conventional CCFL BLUs, but the cost differential is narrowing quickly. And the performance advantages offered by LED BLUs in terms of higher contrast ratios, faster turn-on times, wider color gamuts and the absence of mercury are driving their adoption in LCDs.

Several LED suppliers, BLU manufacturers, LCD panel makers and TV/monitor OEMs now are starting to use LEDs for backlighting large-screen LCDs. Commercial shipments of large-screen LCDs with LED BLUs also are commencing.

The development of high-flux LEDs with luminous efficacies exceeding 100 lumens/W and the advent of innovative designs that allow LEDs to run on AC without the need for an inverter are pushing LEDs closer to adoption in the mainstream general illumination market. LEDs already are being used in different indoor and outdoor decorative illumination applications, and are just starting to target niche general-illumination applications such as flashlights, garden lighting and street lighting. These uses are opening the market for LED illumination in the home and in enterprise illumination applications.

iSuppli LED market forecast

LED over CFLs
Furthermore, legislation around the world increasingly is seeking to ban the use of incandescent bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient light sources. In the near term, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) will benefit from the legislative efforts to ban incandescent lighting. But in the longer term, the advantages of solid-state lighting will outweigh the cost differential between LEDs and CFLs. And as progress continues to be made in LED performance, the cost differential will narrow.

iSuppli projects that LED light bulbs will begin to address the residential and enterprise general illumination market in 2010. Without a doubt, the long-term future of general illumination is LEDs. The market is expanding and investments in innovative designs and creative solutions are justified.

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