The global LED driver market is expected to be primarily driven by surging demand for LED lighting in households for more efficient energy consumption. Light Emitting Diode lighting is increasingly being used for various lighting applications which is driving its growth. The Chinese market is being driven by a surge towards energy efficiency, resulting in a heightened growth for outdoor and traffic lighting.
LED usage was first adopted in outdoor & traffic areas including street lights, roadway lighting, tunnel and highway lighting. This was due to the significant electricity savings associated with the technology. However, significant progress and cost reductions in general lighting applications such as automotive lighting, luminaries, and lamps are the primary factor driving the industry growth.
Increasing demand for lighting in commercial and industrial sector due to lower-life-cycle costs is propelling industry growth. Moreover, the use of light emitting diode products as backlights in LCD displays of TVs and mobile phones is estimated to significantly augment the growth prospects of LED driver. Mobile phones and TVs are end consumer products with immense demand due to short product cycles, extensive popularity, and tight control on cost, performance, and size.
Moreover, the integral light emitting diode modules pose a significant opportunity for growth of the industry. An integral module has a single or a string of sources aligned with LED drivers. These modules are increasingly being recognized as the most energy-efficient mode of lighting owing to the ease of installing these modules. These modules, which are pre-installed with the drivers are being used for most of the new installations of LED lighting system.
The Chinese LED driver market is expected to witness significant growth on account of several benefits offered by the Chinese government to promote the growth of the industry including tax subsidies and lower land cost for light emitting diode facilities. Moreover, prices of low-wattage and low-end light emitting diodes are reducing significantly in China, promoting penetration of the product into the weaker income segments of the country. The Chinese manufacturers currently depend on chips from foreign companies, which make up about half the amount of product costs for LED lamps. The Chinese government is encouraging the development of the semiconductor industry within the country.
However, the industry is anticipated to be deterred by the complex designs of drivers which require constant, high current sources that are not easily available in electronics and pose a significant challenge for engineers. These factors create a false notion about the high and fluctuating costs related to the installation of drivers causing an adverse influence on the growth of the product. Moreover, the Chinese market is threatened by a negative image in countries such as USA and India, who believe Chinese products are of inferior quality. Several large buyers are highly skeptical of trading in Chinese products as they believe that the low-priced Chinese lights burn out within a year.
The industry can be segmented by driving methods into constant voltage LED driver and constant current LED driver. The constant current LED driver is anticipated to be the predominant driving method as they operate within the current permissible levels, avoiding burnout and thermal runaway. On the basis of luminaire type, the industry can be segmented into integral LED modules, decorative lamps, reflectors, A-type, and T-lamps. The type-A lamps are estimated to be the most dominant luminaire type, among all other types. The integrated modules are projected to witness the highest growth as it is increasingly being preferred over conventionally assembled LED systems as they exhibit higher shelf life and are significantly more cost effective.
The end-user lighting applications have been segmented into residential lighting, industrial lighting, commercial lighting, outdoor & traffic lighting, among others. Outdoor and traffic light is expected to be the dominant user of the products as accurate solutions are required by every lighting control project in street lights. Further, different types of roads such as highways, main roads, and streets require different control strategies and several projects need multiple solutions for taking advantage of energy savings. By component, the industry is segmented into driver ICS, discrete components, among others.
The Asia-Pacific region is expected to undergo significant growth over the forecast period. A growing populations, greater demand for energy saving products, and increasing development is making Asia Pacific a high-potential and lucrative market. Several government and regulatory policies in China encourage the use of the product over traditional incandescent lights as LEDs help reduce the overall energy bills and greenhouse emissions. China is emerging as the largest LED industry due to reduced overall costs and increasing installation of manufacturing facilities. Europe and North America have significant revenue share for the product due to major technological development and investments in energy efficient lighting.
The prominent players in the industry include Harvard Engineering (UK), Maxim Integrated (USA), Osram GmbH, Texas Instruments (USA), Atmel Corp (USA), Cree Inc. (USA), General Electric (USA), and Macroblock Inc. (Taiwan). The vendors are adopting several strategies such as collaborations, partnerships, mergers, new product development, and expansions to increase their revenues and competitiveness in the industry. Chinese manufacturers are employing good standard new equipment from Western suppliers to improve their quality and therefore, improve their competitiveness in the international market.
Research Support Specialist, USA