The scale of the global market for chip-on-board (COB) LEDs used in the lighting application will reach US$580 million in 2016 and exceed US$700 million in 2021, achieving a CAGR of about 4% during the forecast period. This figure includes COB products belonging to ceramic and EMC packages. The above data and additional details can be found in the 2016~2021 Global LED Industry Demand and Supply Database Report by LEDinside, a division of TrendForce.
“COB LEDs are mainly for the commercial lighting market,” noted Joanne Wu, assistant research manager of LEDinside. “However, recent technological advances have improved the reliability of high-power COB products, allowing them to gradually expand into various outdoor applications such as lighting equipment for mining sites and street lighting. COB and high-power LEDs are expected to have competitive advantages in the high-end lighting applications because they have advantages that mid-power LEDs lack in terms of design and brightness.”
Wu pointed out that international LED suppliers offer COB product lines that are wider ranging. “Moreover, they have much higher standards regarding brightness of the light and quality and reliability of products,” said Wu. “International suppliers also control the crucial IPs related to COB LEDs, so they tend to have more customers and are chosen by major lighting exporters.”
China-based LED suppliers on the other hand offer bargain prices and have a large domestic market. Chinese suppliers furthermore are developing COB LEDs with EMC packages. These products are expected to contribute to the rapid growth of revenue related to COB LEDs for lighting applications.
Japan’s Citizen Electronics topped the worldwide revenue ranking of COB LED suppliers for 2015, while CREE took second place. Citizen was able to capture the largest market share with a very comprehensive product line strategy. Last year, Citizen and CREE invested heavily in high-brightness, bargain-priced COB products for specific applications, such as the 10-watt-and-under segment of the indoor commercial lighting market and the 50-watt-and-above segments of both the industrial and outdoor lighting markets. The two companies will also see significant growth in their COB LED revenue this year as they take their products into the horticultural lighting market.
Sharp and Bridgelux shared third place in the 2015 COB LED revenue ranking. With dual-color products and valuable patents, Sharp was able to push its COB LEDs into the commercial and medical lighting markets. Bridgelux’s COB products, which are mainly for industrial lighting, are exceptional in quality given their prices.
Lumileds and Nichia were tied at fifth place in the 2015 ranking. By greatly expanding their product lines, Lumileds and Nichia were able to significantly increase their COB LED revenues. Both suppliers are expected to launch more products in the second half of 2016 and are likely to again post large annual increases in their COB LED revenues.
Since 2014, Samsung has been focusing on developing COB products and making inroads in the lighting market. Consequently, the supplier significantly grew its COB LED revenue in 2015 and became the seventh largest supplier in the annual ranking.
Wu added: “China-based suppliers such as Sunpu and LED Teen have been just as active as their international counterparts developing COB products. Sunpo climbed to eighth place in the 2015 COB revenue ranking on the back of strong sales of its full-spectrum products for the horticultural application market. LED Teen has always been focusing on developing COB LEDs and has grown rapidly in recent years. This year, LED Teen has improved its position in the high-end commercial lighting market by successfully launching its high-density, high-color rendering COB LED arrays."
Likewise, U.S.-based LED manufacturer Luminus Devices, which was acquired by San’an Opto in the 2013, has positioned itself as another supplier in the high-end commercial lighting market. Luminus Device currently as has a production site in Xiamen China. The plant is undergoing capacity expansion and will be an important revenue contributor.