Lamp makers brace themselves for lighting’s integrated future

When even lamps giant Megaman says lighting’s future is fixtures, you know that big change is on the cards.

In a seminar at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair today focusing on where the lighting industry is heading in the next few years, Fred Bass of Neonlite – the company behind Megaman – examined trends in the market.

The big problem facing companies like Megaman is: what happens when all the lamps have been replaced with LED? If they last as long as they’re supposed to, the replacement market won’t be nearly as lucrative in the LED era as it was in the past.

The retrofit market has been good to Megaman (whose sales have gone from 85 per cent CFL to 85 per cent LED in less than four years), but the company knows it’s a business that can’t last forever. LED retrofit sales will continue to see strong growth for at least another four to five years, said Bass - then they'll slow down and begin to decline.

He reckons we’ll start to see ‘socket saturation’ in the lamps market in three years or so, with the MR16 format coming first, and others soon after.

But it’s not all bad news, he says, because ‘in the LED era, channels have opened up to us that were never there before’.

‘Everyone’s moving into integrated solutions,’ Bass said. ‘Sources are increasingly sold with fixtures, and the traditional divisions in the lighting industry will start to disappear as we all have to supply fixtures, lamps and control solutions.’

Megaman is working hard to expand its fixture offering, has set up a lighting projects division, and recently made a move into controls with its first ‘smart’ lighting products – connected lamps in Bluetooth and RF versions.

The market remains fast moving and unpredictable - Bass had to make a last-minute amendment to his presentation to reflect that Samsung - seen until recently as a looming threat to established makers of lamps (and luminaires for that matter) - is abandoning the lamps market to focus on components.

And the market for sources won’t disappear completely, Bass said, because even if most lighting products are integrated, the majority will still need to be ‘serviceable’ in some way.