GaN LED shipments to exceed 100 billion units this year

IMS Research reports that more than 100 billion Gallium Nitride light-emitting diodes will ship in 2013 and revenue is expected to pass the $10 billion mark.


IHS Inc.More than 100 billion Gallium Nitride light-emitting diodes (GaN LED) will ship in 2013—the equivalent of 15 for every person on the planet using this particular type of lighting device incorporating the GaN semiconductor material, according to the new report titled “Q2 GaN LED Supply and Demand” from IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. 

With mobile phones typically containing five or 10 LEDs and televisions incorporating LEDs numbering up to the hundreds, LED consumption is clearly accelerating. In particular, GaN LEDs account for 85% of total revenues in the LED industry, dominating key applications such as TVs and lighting. The GaN LED market is part of the total global LED market, including AlInGaP and other LEDs, tracked by IHS on an annual basis

Revenue for GaN LEDs this year will pass the $10 billion mark, notes Jamie Fox, principal analyst for Lighting and LEDs at IHS. “If we consider the total LED market—including AlInGaP, GaN and other LED types—the $10 billion revenue and the 100 billion unit shipment levels were actually reached in 2010. But now in 2013, both of these thresholds are predicted to be attained by the GaN LED market alone, showing how large the segment has become.” 

To be sure, tremendous growth has attended the GaN LED market in recent years. Revenue in 2013 is forecast to double from that of only four years ago, while unit shipments this year will have more than tripled since 2009. 

Even so, growth on an annual basis has been fairly uneven. In 2010, for instance, the annual revenue increase was the largest by far in the history of the LED industry, but revenue was flat the year after. Growth then returned in 2012, climbing 15%. This year, revenue is forecast to be flat once again or see very little expansion, but the market can take comfort in industry total takings of $10.2 billion. 

Another strong growth year is predicted in 2014 via general lighting along with other applications such as TVs and tablets, and then growth will slow after next year, with the double-digit revenue increases typical of years past harder to come by. 

Within the GaN LED space, the market this year for GaN LEDs in lighting is projected to reach $3.4 billion, on its way to $6.7 billion by 2016. In contrast, the market for GaN LEDs in TVs will start declining as manufacturers reduce the number of LEDs utilized per television in the face of newer technology requiring fewer LEDs. From $2.1 billion this year, revenue for GaN LEDs in TVs will contract 7% on average every year during the next several years. 

A number of challenges will be in store for the LED space moving forward. Despite the strong annual growth of recent years, overcapacity, tough competition and declining profit margins at some companies have been nipping at the industry. And as the market matures, players will find it increasingly tougher to survive and thrive, even as good opportunities exist for those with the appropriate product and business model, IHS believes. 

The “GaN LED Supply and Demand – Quarterly Market Tracker” features 300 pages of analysis, including detailed forecasts and pivot tables. The report includes unit shipments, average sales prices and revenues estimated for 2012 and forecast through 2018. The market is segmented by application in detail. In addition, the report contains data on MOCVD as well as wafer- and die-production capacity. It is an essential tool for executives assessing or seeking an in-depth understanding of this market. Further information can be found on about the IHS Q2 GaN LED Supply and Demand report and other products.

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