The European CEO of lamps giant TCP says that some major buyers in the retail and wholesale markets have harmed consumers' trust in LEDs through their ‘irresponsible’ pursuit of rock-bottom prices.
Speaking to Lux Review at the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair, where TCP is exhibiting alongside 2,500 other companies (including countless cheap Chinese competitors) Thomas Luecke said: ‘I think buyers should have a bit more responsibility when it comes to deciding what products to bring into the consumer market. It’s not all about price. It’s about reliability, it’s about giving the consumer what’s suitable for the consumer’s home.
'You don’t need a high spec LED product, you need a decent product that does what it says on the tin. But most buyers don’t look at it that way.’
Luecke picked out UK retailers Homebase and Screwfix – both TCP customers – as examples of businesses that have kept quality up, an approach which he says has paid off in customer satisfaction.
Others have been less choosy and allowed products with short lives, poor colour or otherwise lacklustre performance to sully consumers’ perceptions of all LED products, he said.
Many consumers, he said, treat 'LED' like a brand, and once they've had a bad experience with it, they're unwilling to give it another go.
‘I just want to do what’s right, and if it costs a bit more, so be it,' said Luecke.
TCP's latest range of LED products includes a connected lamp kit, a range of LED filament lamps, a new trade range for the wholesale market, and even a lamp that can be dimmed without the need for a dimmer (switch it on once and the bulb dims slowly up from zero, switch it quickly off and on again and it sticks at the selected level).
Part of the problem with consumer trust in LED lamps in Europe, he believes, is that lack of regulation in the early days of LED meant ‘you could say what you want [about your product’s performance]’.
‘From the lighting industry perspective, we failed to professionally bring LED on to the market.'