Wednesday, October 3, 2012

LED lighting and the American public

Ikea announced recently that it will sell 100% LED-based lighting products by the year 2016, making it the first home furniture chain in the US to completely ban less-efficient light sources. The company cites a commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency as their primary goal, yet they also seem to recognize amazing potential and versatility of LED lighting.

Of course this is good news for everyone: from LED innovators (my research group) and customers (everyone).  Some statistics I read in their press release were actually pretty interesting.

From BusinessWire:
  • Less than one-half of Americans (43%) have at least one LED bulb in their house, compared to China (80%), Russia (65%) and Sweden (61%)  [1]
  • Only one-third (34%) of Americans say LED lights provide similar lighting quality to incandescent bulbs, compared to China (77%) and Russia (61%)  [1]
  • More than 1/3 (34%) of people don’t know that LED bulbs use less energy  [2]
  • Only 27% of people know that these bulbs last 20 years  [2]
  • When told of LED savings, 86% of Americans say they’re interested in switching  [1]
Sources:  [1] IKEA Global Study &  [2] Wakefield Research

Despite efforts from the US Department of Energy to inform consumers about the benefits of LED lighting, including standardized test procedures and packaging labels, or LED rebate programs, these surveys show that many Americans are still lack knowledge of the benefits and properties of LEDs.

Are Americans ignorant because they are anti-intellectual, anti-technology, or were the early adopters turned off by the crappy LED Christmas lights they saw at the dollar store four years ago and don't think the technology has advanced from that?

I understand it takes time for technology to become mainstream, and the price of the products need to come down for sure.  Assuming the price comes down to <$10 a bulb, what else needs to happen for more people to catch on to the benefits and modern advancements in LED products?  Is this even an engineering problem anymore or is it a marketing problem?


  1. I don't think it's ignorance yet, just inertia. I want LED lights, but there's two things holding me back:
    1) Price. They're falling rapidly, but right now they're so much more expensive that it's easier to just by incandescent and wait another year or two. (The fact that I rent also makes this easier; if I owned a home I'd be more interested in buying a long-lasting bulb.)
    2) Time. Incandescnet bulbs come in 4- or 8- packs, but I generally only need to replace one at a time. It'll take some time before I'm out of my current stock and even need to buy more bulbs in the first place. There's no rush to go out and replace something that's still working.

  2. Yeah, the price needs to come down for sure. Plus, you gotta wonder about the long term profitability of a product that you only buy once every 20 years.

    I'm not surprised that more people don't own any LED bulbs, I was more surprised that so many people didn't know LEDs were more efficient and had high quality light.

  3. Its high time to switch to LED lighting.

  4. I really love to read out your blog, i guess you have made huge researches about led bulbs and led lights. keep it up.

  5. Of course this is good news for everyone: from LED innovators (my research group) and customers (everyone). Some statistics I read in their press release were actually pretty interesting.


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