ABI Research sees global LED industry divide

A new study predicts two distinct markets for LEDs by 2010.

According to a new study from ABI Research, by 2010 the global LED market may consist of two segments: a highly commoditized market in simple, inexpensive LEDs for mass-produced goods, for example traffic lights and mobile phones, and another sector dealing in high-end, high-tech innovations.

ABI Research vice president Edward Rerisi says that the lower "general lighting" end of the market is already characterized by price-cutting, low margins, and intellectual property disputes that are disruptive to supply chains. "The lower half of the market is likely to experience a period of consolidation," says Rerisi.

However, high-quality LEDs are starting to appear in complex (and more expensive) systems such as stage lighting, automotive headlights and large TVs. Fortunately for the industry, these are among the markets that are going to see the most growth through the end of the decade.

"Higher-tier, higher-technology companies that can protect their intellectual property and guarantee delivery will capitalize on that strength to search for new applications that will let them escape the intense competition," says Rerisi.

Meanwhile, because of the technology's energy-saving nature, governments are adding to the mix with significant support for the LED industry, both in contracts and in funding new research.

The study, "LEDs and Laser Diodes," analyzes major LED and laser diode markets, technologies, and players. It also reviews external factors that may effect the growth of the LED industry, such as the burgeoning OLED industry and the current shortage of indium.

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