Illumination is one of the leading applications of LED driver technology, according to an IHS Technology report. This is proven by the fact that one out of every four dollars spent worldwide on LED drivers in 2013 went into lighting applications.
According to the report ‘LED Driver ICs — World’ from the Lighting & LEDs service at IHS, LED driver revenues from lighting applications totalled $305 million in 2013, representing 25 percent of the total driver market of $1.2 billion. Given the continuing growth of the LED lighting market, revenue for associated drivers is expected to nearly triple to $893 million in 2019, amounting to 43 percent of the $2.1 billion LED driver market.
Jamie Fox, principal LED analyst for IHS observes that lighting represents the fastest-growing segment of the LED market, accounting for a larger share of market revenue as well as overall driver sales.
The lighting segment mainly consists of lamps and luminaries, with flashlights, architectural illumination and other applications representing a smaller share. Lamps accounted for most of the lighting units shipped in 2013, and for 50 percent or $151 million of the revenue for all lighting ICs.
LED driver ICs
LED driver ICs play an important role in energy savings and are used to support most high-brightness LEDs.
An important feature in high-quality LED lighting products, LED driver ICs are seeing significant sales in applications beyond the lighting segment, such as in signage, mobile handsets, televisions, notebooks, monitors and tablets, as well as automotive applications.
Unlike the price erosion being witnessed in the LED market, LED drivers still maintain healthy price levels, leading to a rise in LED driver revenue by double-digit percentages in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Texas Instruments maintained its position as the leading supplier of LED driver ICs in 2013, followed by STMicroelectronics.
Taiwan’s Macroblock continued its leadership in the signage segment of the market while western semiconductor giants played prominent roles in other segments, including companies such as On Semiconductor, Maxim, NXP, Skyworks, ams and Power Integrations.
Most of the companies on the growth path will remain focussed on the lighting market that already accounts for a quarter of the total business, and will continue to grow as LED lamp sales increase rapidly during the next few years.