LED driver IC sales will reach nearly $3.5 billion in 2015 from nearly $2 billion in 2010, a compound annual growth rate of 12%. With growth from edge-lit TVs and monitors. LED lighting applications will be the next big event for LED drivers and driver ICs, beginning with replacement bulbs, as a response to improvements in technology and phasing-in bans on incandescent bulbs in many countries.
LED driver IC revenues are threatened by continued integration into fewer ICs, competition from compact fluorescent lamps and OLED. Severe price erosion for driver ICs will limit the revenue growth as volumes increase, but new, higher priced ICs are appearing that reduce the overall BOM and also help maintain the ASP of the ICs. AC-LED products minimize the driver and some eliminate the driver IC, but will not have a significant impact on overall revenues through the period.
The production value of drivers for lighting will see strong 40% compound annual growth through the period. The driver is the entire LED circuit, including the driver IC but excluding the LEDs. Innovations in driver design will help take LED lighting mainstream, but the market will quickly shake out those who cannot meet strict goals for dimming, efficiency, power factor, and price. To meet these goals, large and small companies are bringing innovations to market, such as digital control and novel high-voltage designs. Industry, LED researcher and even energy authority are moving toward more standardized specifications that will reduce manufacturing costs and accelerate adoption.
The top 10 LED driver IC suppliers hold more than 55% of revenues, with about 30 IC suppliers and captive manufacturers sharing the other 44%. With the acquisition of National Semiconductor by Texas Instruments, TI is now the number one supplier of LED driver ICs. Winners will be those who can keep delivering innovative products at competitive prices. Fabrication with leading-edge high-voltage BCD processes and 8”-12” wafers will play a key role. HK Snob