LED backlight competition hots up

Backlit applications will peak around 2013, according to analysts at DisplaySearch. There will be a rise in LED usage and increased competition as different regions vie for the top spot.

Full revenue for backlight and lighting applications hit $7.2 billion in 2010, but should reach $12.7 billion in 2014. Suppliers have realised there is top dollar to be had and have pushed up capacity.

There should be, according to DisplaySearch, global capacity of 180 billion units for this year, up to 227 billion by 2013.

Penetration of LED backlights in LCD monitors and LCD TVs is still growing, while LED packages per set decrease. Backlight demand will be 45.9 billion this year overall. LED-backlit LCD TVs account for half of total backlight demand, but will reach its top level in 2012, when it will slightly drop after 2013 because of an LED decrease per unit.

Regionally, Japan holds the highest market share for this year at 63 percent. It will drop to 40 percent in 2014, thanks to bulb growth in China, North America and Europe.

Korean companies have so far carried the torch for LED supply, but Taiwan plans to usurp it when the year is through. The biggest suppliers in the second quarter this year, looking at 500×500 chip size, were S-LED, LGIT and Epistar, says DisplaySearch. As Taiwan increases output, China too has realised this is a lucrative market. The analysts describe it as a “wild card” thanks to all the investment.

Competition is set to increase heavily this year and onwards thanks to a stock surplus – meaning big price drops for 2011. In turn, we can expect higher LED adoption rates.