Something we rarely hear about is the market for electric light bulbs.  We take light for granted once we get electricity into our homes and businesses and light bulbs are just something you buy whenever they burn out.  Now we have a global report on one of the most important markets to ever impact humanity.

The Sacramento Bee brings our attention to a recent report by Transparency Market Research that forecasts the growth of the global lighting market over the next five years. (Global Energy Efficient Lighting Technology Market by Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), Application and Geography: 2011- 2016)

Global population growth and urbanization are increasing the overall demand for lighting products. Resource scarcity and climate change concerns are driving the industry trend towards more energy efficient lighting technologies. This is being accelerated by government regulation on energy efficiency around the globe. China will account for one-third of all new demand, surpassing the US to become the largest market.

Lighting accounts for about 18% to 20% of total energy consumption globally; and about 27% to 30% of total energy consumed for domestic purposes.  Within the global lighting market, residential lighting accounts for 40% of the total market.

After a century with the standard incandescent light bulb, new technology advances have brought us energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and solid state (LED or light emitting diodes) lighting which produce less heat.  As a result they are supposed to be longer lasting.  However, whether they turn out to be cheaper over their lifetime remains to be seen as they are considerably more expensive than the bulbs they replace.

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) are about 70% more energy efficient than incandescent light bulbs.  With the latter only 15% of the electric energy is converted to light. CFL has proven to be popular in offices and for industrial applications.

LED lighting is enjoying robust growth because of its exceptional features that include high energy-efficiency, long operational life and robust weather resistant design.  LED has proven popular for residential lighting, decoration, signal indicators (such as in appliances) and display backlighting.

The global LED lighting market is estimated to reach $18.2 billion in 2016 at an average annual growth rate of 14.9% from 2011 to 2016.  The global CFL market is expected to grow from $44.3 billion in 2010 to $69.4 billion in 2016, at an estimated average annual growth rate of 8.2% over the same period. This compares with a total global lighting market expected to be about $1 trillion in 2016.