Trade Resources Industry Views Lighting in 2013 Will Surpass Handsets as The Biggest Application for LED Driver ICs

Lighting in 2013 Will Surpass Handsets as The Biggest Application for LED Driver ICs

With the efficiency and total lumen output for LEDs on the rise, lighting in 2013 will surpass handsets as the biggest application for LED driver ICs, with revenue rising by more than 50% annually, and then more than doubling by 2018, according to IMS Research.

The market for LED driver ICs in LED lighting is set to grow to US$323 million in 2013, up from US$214 million in 2012. This will allow the LED market for lighting to exceed that of handsets, which will have revenues of US$316 million. Additionally, unit shipments of LED driver ICs in 2013 will continue to favor mobile handsets with 1.5 billion units, versus 1.1 billion for LED lighting. However, that will change in 2014 when lighting is forecast to overtake mobile as the volume shipment leader with 1.9 billion, compared to 1.7 billion for handset LEDs, the firm said.

Revenues will continue to grow for LED lighting for the next few years heading to US$519 million in 2014 and US$666 million in 2015 on its way to US$810.3 million by 2018.

For years, LEDs have been known more for backlighting than for lighting, illuminating displays rather than places. However, LEDs now have come out from behind the screen and are gaining acceptance for lighting homes and businesses. Even when a number of LEDs are used in a single bulb, they can save a significant amount of energy compared to compact fluorescent bulbs, the firm added.

Types of lighting applications for LEDs are flashlights, street/parking lights, residential or office lights and commercial (e.g. retail, hotels). As they have become more efficient and their overall lumen output has increased, LED lights are becoming an increasingly attractive option. This is particularly true in applications where maintenance costs can be an issue, such as supermarket refrigerator lights or factory and warehouse high bay lighting.

Mobile still important

While lighting has overtaken handsets as the number one segment beginning in 2013, LEDs in mobile handsets will continue to be an important segment for manufacturers. LEDs are used in mobile handsets for display and keypad backlighting. More recently, LEDs have been adopted by handset vendors for flash photography capabilities, which will drive shipments to 2.2 billion units by 2018, up from 1.3 billion in 2012, IMS Research believes.

Demand for LEDs in handsets is being somewhat dampened by the rise of OLED displays-which do not require an LED for backlighting. OLEDs are replacing LCD screens in some smartphones, resulting in slower market growth.

The percentage of total LED driver IC revenue derived from cellphones will decline to 20% by 2018, down from 27% in 2012. Because of this, LED driver IC manufacturers whose core market is mobile handsets have been diversifying into other areas such as lighting and some new entrants are only focused on lighting.

Vehicle LEDs

Automotive is one of the fast-growing markets for LED driver ICs for both the interior and exterior of vehicles. Interior automotive LEDs are used in LCD display backlighting as well as for navigation displays, infotainment and instrument clusters. Other applications inside vehicles include ambient lighting, reading lighting, footwell lighting and boot/truck lighting.

One of the major applications for LEDs on the exterior of cars includes rear and brake lights powered by LED driver chips. While sometimes only one LED driver is needed to power multiple rear lights, IMS Research believes there will be a large increase in LED driver IC use for years to come driven by the increasing use of LED driver ICs and the rising penetration of LEDs in cars.

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Lighting to Overtake Handsets as Largest LED Driver IC Segment in 2013, Says IMS Research
Topics: Lighting