Wednesday, August 17, 2011

OLED Lighting Falls Short 
Organic light emitting diode (OLED) lighting has the potential to create cheap, pleasing light in unique, flexible form factors. However, the technology is immature and costly today. According to a new report from Lux Research, OLED lighting costs will drop by more than an order of magnitude over the course of this decade – but the technology will still remain uncompetitive with other lighting options, and amount to a mere $58 million market in 2020.

The report, titled “Finding the End of the Tunnel for OLED Lighting,” analyzes prospects for OLED lighting fixtures which emit diffuse, glareless illumination from either glass or flexible panels. It projects that OLED lighting costs will drop from $18/lumen today to $0.71/lumen on glass and $0.18/lumen on flexible substrates by 2020. Despite this marked improvement, OLED lighting costs will still lag behind competitive illumination sources, limiting broad adoption.

“Developers are still looking for the ‘killer application’ for OLED lighting that will allow them to make initial sales and bootstrap their way to larger scale” said Jonathan Melnick, a Lux Research Analyst and the report’s lead author. “The problem is that OLED lighting is so much more expensive than incumbent and emerging alternatives – it’s only the most cost-insensitive markets that would use it for aesthetic value for the foreseeable future.”

To forecast the OLED lighting market, Lux Research built detailed models by market segment to look at potential applications for OLED lighting in target markets, such as designer lighting, luminaires, general illumination, wearable lighting, automotive, and aerospace. Among the report’s key findings:

  • Designer lighting takes advantage of the form factors of OLED lighting. While OLEDs won’t challenge incandescent, fluorescent, or LEDs on a cost basis, they will find opportunities in designer lighting where aesthetic imperatives can trump price. OLEDs particularly suit applications that can absorb high-priced fixtures, such as high-end hotels, casinos, and upscale bars and restaurants. Once commercial flexible panels emerge in 2015, adoption will see a bump for this market. All told, the designer lighting market for OLEDs will reach $32 million in 2020.
  • OLEDs’ high costs will limit growth in luminaires. OLED panel manufacturers are targeting this market through strategic partnerships with luminaire designers, and Lux Research projects it to be the second largest, after designer lighting, with a 2020 market size of $22 million. The cost of OLED lamps, which can reach to thousands of dollars each, will be prohibitive for many prospective customers.
  • By technology, flexible OLED lighting will predominate in the second half of the decade. Once flexible OLED lighting panels become commercially available in 2015, they will immediately begin taking market share from glass panels. Further, their projected lower costs and the unique applications that flexibility enables will propel them to become the leading OLED technology entering the next decade. In 2020, of the $58 million OLED lighting market, we project 63% will be flexible substrates.
“Finding the End of the Tunnel for OLED Lighting,” is part of the Lux Printed Electronics Intelligence service. Clients subscribing to this service receive ongoing research on market and technology trends, continuous technology scouting reports and proprietary data points in the weekly Lux Research Printed Electronics Journal, and on-demand inquiry with Lux Research analysts.

Lux Research
Press Release dated July 26, 2011

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