The Economist has published an interesting article on the future growth of the LED lighting market, quoting some numbers from a recent McKinsey report predicting that ‘by 2020 LEDs could make up 59% by value of the total lighting market compared with 10% in 2010.’
In addition, the total market size is expected to reach $160 billion in 2020, with over three quarters being spent on the rather amorphous ‘general lighting’ category.
This is an exciting growth rate, which will no doubt draw envious glances from many other industries. But all the same I do have to wonder whether it is a tad on the conservative side.
Right now, market growth is primarily being driven by a replacement cycle in which traditional incandescent lights are being upgraded to LED lights for energy-saving purposes or to conform with new environmental regulations that are being rolled out throughout the world.
But the question in my mind is: what will happen when innovation truly starts to hit the market in the form of new lighting applications and cloud-based lighting experiences over the next few years?
We are already starting to see early signs of this with decorative LED lights for homes and gardens and some early forms of ‘mood’ lighting, but the pace of innovation will only really explode once programmability becomes much easier and cheaper and people can control their lighting from their iPad or smart phone.
Judging by recent discussions I’ve had with leading LED lighting manufacturers, the age of programmability is not that far away. And when it does happen we’ll truly see, as the Economist so cleverly puts it, a thundering charge of the LED Brigade.