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LED backlighting to grab 90% of LCD TV market in 2013

05 Nov 2013

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A new IHS report forecasts that 90 per cent of LCD TV panel shipments will be equipped with LED backlighting technology this year as more display panel suppliers shift to using LEDs. According to the research firm, cold-cathode fluorescent lamp technology will be completely phased out by 2016 when LED backlighting fully penetrates the LCD TV panel market. LED adoption in desktop monitors is pegged at 86 per cent in 2013, and is estimated to reach 100 per cent in 2015. Usage of the technology is only expected in 2.8 per cent of lamps this year, but demand for it is predicted to soar in the next five years and result in a $2.5 billion revenue growth. Prices for LEDs in general are declining due to the increase in demand.

The report estimates that 207 million out of 231 million LCD TV panels to be shipped during 2013 will use LED backlighting. This marks the end of a boom time that started in 2009, when the LED penetration of the LCD TV panel market was only 3 per cent before rising to 24 per cent in 2010, 38 per cent in 2011 and 71 per cent in 2012. Japanese LCD TV maker Sharp leads the market with 100 per cent LED backlighting usage by the end of 2013, followed by South Korea's Samsung and LG with more than 95 per cent LED usage.

Because there is little growth opportunity left in the LCD TV backlighting market, LED makers are redirecting their efforts to the lighting business.

"LED suppliers that are focused on lighting are predicted to gain market share," said Jamie Fox, principal analyst for LEDs at IHS. "Some of the companies that have a large market share in LED backlighting, such as Seoul Semiconductor and Samsung, have already managed to shift much of their business to lighting and have done very well in this area, winning market share in recent years."

In lighting applications, the penetration of LED products compared to alternative technologies is currently very low at only 520 million LED lamps against 18.6 billion lamps in total. However, demand for LED lighting is predicted to increase rapidly during the next five years, driving a projected packaged LED revenue growth of $2.5 billion within the period.

"Because the replacement rates for LED lamps are much longer than those made from competing technologies, annual demand is predicted to slow as the installed base grows for LED lamps," Fox said. "Suppliers to the LED lighting market, therefore, need to position themselves accordingly in order to capitalise."

The largest adoption of LED lamps this year has been recorded in Japan. The highest penetration in terms of sector can be found in retail and hospitality, at approximately 6 per cent LED, compared to about 1 per cent for the residential market.

Other backlighting applications, including cell phones, desktop PCs, notebooks and tablets, are noting high LED usage, although growth opportunities in these segments are slowing down even before 100 per cent penetration has been reached. This is driven by a number of factors. One is the reduction in the number of LEDs needed per panel. Another reason shipments are slowing is the increasing usage of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, which do not require LED backlighting.

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