How Does the OLED Market Compare to LED?

Are you still debating LED lighting vs. traditional lighting technology? Well, you may have another option to consider with OLED.

OLED is typically used in devices such as computer monitors and mobile phones, but it’s also used in general lighting applications. Compound Semiconductor reported that recent advancements in OLED technology have enabled interest to increase and it is predicted it will continue to do so. Just in the past few years, developments in OLED have reduced the average selling price for an OLED panel. In 2013, the average selling price was just under $31, and prices are expected to fall by at least 40 percent over the next seven years, according to IHS.

But…not so fast.

The market for OLED panels is estimated to be around $2.7 million and is expected to grow to around $26 million in 2020. While this appears to be a huge growth, it’s still 500 times smaller than the current LED market, which is worth $10 billion.

The main drawback of OLED lighting products is their huge manufacturing costs. A similar LED fixture is significantly less expensive than the OLED equivalent. OLED can’t compete with LED in applications like general lighting, as LED is superior in terms of efficiency, lifetime, and brightness. OLED, however, has advantages in light quality, panel weight, heat distribution and stylistic effects. LED could soon challenge OLED in these areas, and it can be argued that they already do.

Yes, OLED technology is rapidly developing–but LED technology is as well. The price of LEDs is falling and being used in an increasing number of applications. Right now, it’s predicted that LED will likely remain the mainstream technology for the foreseeable future, with OLED technology not being able to catch up or rival the benefits of LED.

Does OLED offer any type of benefit? According CNET, OLED opens new options for lighting designs that are difficult to achieve with LED. Because the panels aren’t extremely bright, they can be mounted in fixtures seen directly by the eye and don’t require reflectors or diffusers to cut glare.

But in terms of general lighting, it appears that OLED can’t hold a footcandle to LED.

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