Although demand for LED chips for backlighting applications in display screens is expected to decline, LED lighting sales are growing, and total shipments of LED chips are on the rise. According to DisplaySearch, worldwide LED lighting chip sales reached US$1.1 billion in 2013 and are predicted to reach US$3.4 billion in 2017.
Measured in standard units of 500 by 500 micron chip size, overall LED chip demand is expected to grow from 17 billion in 2012 to 61 billion in 2014. While consumer demand for LED lighting will continue to increase in the coming years, the demand for LED backlight chips for TVs and other display applications will start to decline after 2014, the firm said.
Demand from backlighting is falling due to a combination of slower growth in LED-backlit LCD TV sales and efficiency increases that have resulted in a reduction in chips used per backlight. LED backlight chip sales reached US$2 billion in 2013, but are forecast to decrease to US$1.4 billion in 2017. By comparison, consumer demand for LED lighting has increased since 2012 and is expected to keep growing through 2017.
“LED market observers have been expecting huge growth in the LED lighting market for a long time, and it’s finally here,” said Steven Sher, LED backlight and lighting analyst for DisplaySearch. “Significant growth in consumer lighting is helping to keep the LED market on an upward trajectory, even with ongoing declines in backlight demand.”
As costs fall for LED fluorescent tubes, they continue to replace traditional fluorescent lighting-especially in certain offices and garages, where lighting is required on a 24-hour basis. According to DisplaySearch, the LED tube is currently the most popular LED lighting product because, unlike traditional fluorescent lighting, LED tubes do not contain mercury, are 50% more energy efficient, and boast a longer lifespan.