The market for organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) in the lighting market is set to grow tenfold in the next few years as recent advancements in technology have closed the gap on traditional LED lighting products, according to a new IHS research note.
IHS forecasts the market for OLED lighting will grow to about $26 million by 2020, up substantially from the forecasted $2.7 million in revenue for the technology this year. Traditionally, OLEDs have not been considered a mature technology in lighting due to the high cost compared to non-organic LEDs. While technology advancements have thawed that price difference, OLEDs still are more expensive but consumers are finding value I the versatile and energy efficient nature of OLEDs for lighting, IHS said.
Historically, OLEDs have been unable to overcome the price differential in general lighting because how lighting looks or feels has never really been much of a consideration. And with non-organic LEDs costing significantly less, the benefits to using OLEDs could not be seen to the average consumer. Developments in OLED manufacturing have reduced average selling prices (ASPs) for panels to just under $31 in 2013. IHS forecasts this reduction in price will continue falling at least 40 percent in the next seven years.
“In terms of efficiency, lifetime and brightness, it will continue to be difficult for OLED lighting to compete with LED lighting; however, OLED has advantages in light quality, panel weight, heat distribution and stylistic effects,” said Mike Hornung, market analyst for Lighting and LEDs at IHS. “As prices fall, however, shipments of panels are forecast to increase dramatically.”
While this means a potential battle is brewing over lighting, IHS cautions that while OLED technologies are rapidly developing, LED technologies are as well. And as the prices of OLEDs drop, the prices of LEDs are also still falling with manufacturers looking for new ways to use them. Add to this that LEDs may soon challenge OLEDs in the value proposition that it has historically held over the competing technology in light quality, surface emission and other key functional areas.
IHS concludes that despite the progress being made in general lighting for OLEDs, LEDs will no doubt remain a cheaper, more efficient and longer lasting alternative to OLEDs. As a result, LEDs will remain the mainstream technology in the foreseeable future with OLEDs not being able to match the many benefits of LEDs before the next new technology comes along.