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iSuppli: LED shortage looms this year

Posted: 10 Mar 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LED? LED shortage? LCD? lighting market?

The global supply of LED is facing a shortage this year and may end with an acute undersupply of the heavily in-demand devices unless production capacity is increased, warned iSuppli Corp. Total consumption of LEDs reached 63 billion units in 2009, up from 57 billion in 2008.

Given the rise in numbers, overall LED consumption last year came dangerously close to the industry's total capacity of 75 billion units, indicating that many LED manufacturers were operating at nearly 100 percent utilization levels.

"It is clear that demand is outstripping supply," said Jagdish Rebello, senior director and principal analyst for wireless research at iSuppli. "With LED market growth forecasted to rise by double-digit percentages for at least the next three yearsincluding 2010a drastic undersupply situation could occur this year unless additional capacity is brought online to meet the increased demand.

With demand clearly outstripping supply and LED market growth forecasted to rise by double-digit percentages for at least the next three yearsincluding 2010iSuppli projects that a drastic undersupply situation could occur this year unless additional capacity is brought online to meet the increased demand.

"The shortage predicted in 2010 applies to LEDs used for the backlighting of large-screen LCD TVs," said Sweta Dash, senior director for LCD research at iSuppli. "On the demand side, the shortage is being spurred by strong consumer desire, given the growing popularity of LED-backlit LCD TVs due to their super-slim form factors and improvements in picture quality. On the supply side, television manufacturers are striving to increase their sales of LED-backlit sets.

Unlike notebooks, which typically use 50 LEDs, or monitors, which employ about 100 LEDs, LCD TVs on average consume anywhere from 300 to 500 LEDs per panel. And with LEDs used for backlighting of LCD TVs demanding a high level of uniformity, any LED shortages in the industry mainly will impact TV panels.

LEDs now find widespread use as the backlighting units not only of large-sized LCDs used in TVs and computer screens but also of smaller LCDs in a broad assortment of devices, including notebooks, cell phones, portable navigation devices, digital photo frames, digital cameras and keypads.

Furthermore, LED solutions are finding increasing usage in the general illumination market, addressing the needs of residential, commercial and industrial lighting applications. The general illumination market for LEDs is still in its infancy, but will become mainstream during the next two years.


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