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LED Market Grew by 93% in 2010, Driven by Backlights

The worldwide high-brightness (HB) LED market leaped from $5.6 billion in 2009 to $10.8 billion in 2010, a growth rate of 93%, according to market research firm Strategies Unlimited. The total market is expected to reach $18.9 billion in 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8%. LCD monitor and TV backlights led the growth spurt, followed by mobile display applications. Ten companies accounted for more than 75% of the HB-LED market. The rank order, by revenue, of the top 10 suppliers in the HB-LED market in 2010 is:

  1. LED Market in 2010Nichia
  2. Samsung LED
  3. Osram Opto Semiconductors
  4. Philips Lumileds Lighting
  5. Seoul Semiconductor
  6. LG Innotek
  7. Cree
  8. Sharp
  9. Toyoda Gosei
  10. Everlight

LED market in 2010 by region. Source: Strategies Unlimited

Several paths led to this impressive growth. Samsung LED, Seoul Semiconductor, and LG Innotek rode the boom in the LCD TV and monitor backlight market. Osram rode the rise of the Chinese HB-LED market, especially in the automobile sector. Lumileds’ success in high-power backlight products, cell phone flash, and architectural lighting contributed to much of its success. Cree’s dedicated focus on lighting ensured its continued strong position in the solid-state lighting revolution.

Meanwhile, Chinese LED suppliers captured two percent of the market. While Chinese HB-LED technologies are currently three to five years behind the rest of the world, Strategies Unlimited expects that huge investment in the SSL industry by 2015 will help close the gap. Investments of $17.4 billion have been announced for 2010-2015, and government subsidies and policies are helping companies to buy MOCVD systems, as well as driving initial adoption, for example in street lights.


Mobile products remained the biggest application HB-LED in 2010, with 39% of the market, while backlights for TVs and monitors accounted for 33%. Lighting and automotive both accounted for 8%, signs were 6%, and other applications comprised the remaining 6%.

While LCD television/monitor backlights accounted for the largest part of the jump in HB-LED revenue in 2010, mobile applications were also significant contributors. In particular, the large rise in PC notebook sales and the penetration rate for LED backlights used in notebooks doubled HB-LED revenue over 2009.

Strategies Unlimited expects television and monitor backlights to continue to be a strong engine for growth in the next two years, and then flatten out in 2013. The CAGR for backlighting is expected to be more than 16% from 2010–2015.

LED luminaire design, rather than LED performance, was the primary concern for the lighting market in 2010. HB-LED component revenue for lighting was $890 million in 2010.

Solid-state lighting will become the key market driver in 2014 because of the worldwide focus on energy efficiency and the phase-out of incandescent bulbs. The forecast CAGR for HB-LED components for lighting from 2010–2015 is 39%.