These are among the findings in Strategies Unlimited’s new report “LED Driver ICs – 2011.” Sales for LCD backlights will dominate through the period, with growth from edge-lit TVs and monitors. LED lighting applications will be the “next big thing” for LED drivers and driver ICs, beginning with LED replacement bulbs, as a response to improvements in technology and the phase-out of incandescent bulbs.
LED driver IC revenues are threatened, however, by continued integration into fewer ICs, as well as by competition from organic LEDs (OLEDs), compact fluorescent lamps, and other technologies.
Severe price erosion for driver ICs will limit the revenue growth as volumes increase, but new, higher-priced ICs are appearing that reduce the overall bill of materials and also help maintain the average price of the ICs.
Also, AC-LED products minimize the driver and some eliminate the driver IC, but will not have a significant impact on overall revenues through the period, and may even help accelerate adoption of LED lighting.
The production value of drivers for lighting will see strong 40% compound annual growth through the period. The driver is defined as the entire LED circuit, including the driver IC but excluding the LEDs. Innovations in driver design will help take LED lighting mainstream, but the market will quickly shake out those who cannot meet strict goals for dimming, efficiency, power factor, and price.
To meet these goals, large and small companies are bringing innovations to market, such as digital control and novel high-voltage designs. Industry and government are moving toward more standardized specifications that will reduce manufacturing costs and accelerate adoption.
The top 10 LED driver IC suppliers hold more than 55% of revenues, with about 30 IC suppliers and captive manufacturers sharing the other 44%. With the acquisition of National Semiconductor by Texas Instruments, TI is now the number one supplier of LED driver ICs. Winners will be those who can keep delivering innovative products at competitive prices. Fabrication with leading-edge, high-voltage BCD processes and 8-inch (or larger) wafers will play a key role.
“LED Driver ICs – 2011” is the latest in a series of reports from Strategies Unlimited on LEDs and LED lighting. It takes a fresh look at the LED driver electronics market, with more than 300 pages of detail on technology and application trends. It is a revision of an earlier report, with perspectives on the LED applications, driver technology, requirements on the drivers and driver ICs, and findings on suppliers and market shares. It provides unit, price, and revenue forecasts to 2015 for all LED driver IC segments, and for the overall driver for LED lighting.
Strategies Unlimited is a research unit of PennWell Corporation, a global media and information company that also publishes LEDs Magazine. For more information, contact Strategies Unlimited at +1 650 941-3438 or info@strategies u.com.