LED Display Sales Coming Back; 2021 Global Sales Forecast To Hit $6.5B: Futuresource

September 9, 2021 by Dave Haynes

Photo: Allsee Technologies

Another research firm has pushed out data suggesting that while the worldwide LED industry took a big sales hit as the pandemic took hold in 2020, sales are bouncing back in a big way in 2021.

“Although global sales fell by 12% last year, the market performed better than the expectations of many,” says Chris McIntyre-Brown of Futuresource Consulting. “That’s all down to China’s recovery, which rallied far faster and far stronger than expected, accounting for more than half of all global sales in 2020.”

“North America gave some resilience to the LED market in the Americas. Overall, EMEA was the hardest hit region. Yet its fragmented nature and the variations in pandemic response mean there were vast differences in performance between constituent countries.”

Futuresource says 2020 global sales were $5.6 billion, a drop of $750 million. Futuresource expects the market to surpass 2019 results, albeit only marginally, to surpass sales of $6.5b in 2021.

The UK-based research firm says that along with a rapid recovery in China, the global pandemic also saw many Chinese LED vendors call international staff home to focus on domestic opportunities. This drove growth in China’s tier two through to four cities, but also created fierce competition for projects, which saw many smaller businesses fail.

At the same time as Chinese brands began to retreat, many major professional display brands in the LED space began ramping up their operations. This has radically altered the market landscape, and underlines the strength of these international brands, who are able to reach globally and support locally, maintaining excellent levels of support throughout 2020.

The long-term future of many Chinese brands looks increasingly challenging, as Samsung, LG and others continue to flex their international muscle.

Futuresource suggests the retail, media and advertising, and stadiums and venues markets were clobbered in 2020, but also that they will bounce back.

There have been some highlights on the landscape. Virtual production was an opportunity directly linked to the pandemic, offering numerous creative and financial benefits to end users. It’s been a particular lifeline for the LED industry, not only from a product point of view, but also because it allowed rental companies to utilize stock and warehouse space for studios and set builds.

The control rooms vertical has also seen a rapid uptick in demand for LED. Interest has been growing for some years, but 2020 was the tipping point, with mission-critical control rooms, particularly in the energy sector, beginning to adopt LED. Despite the pandemic, the control room vertical grew 2.7% year-on-year.

McIntyre-Brown makes a great point about the blizzard of tech terms being applied right now to LED display, presumably as ways to try to establish some differentiation in a very crowded marketplace.

“Another challenge for the industry is the barrage of marketing terminology that’s currently in use,” says McIntyre-Brown. “Terms like SMD, IMD, Multipixel, COB, GOB, MiniLED, MicroLED and many more are being used by companies as they try to differentiate in an increasingly crowded marketplace. While this makes sense at a brand level, it is ultimately detrimental to the wider industry. We expect three technology types to coexist in the market for the foreseeable future, SMD, MiniLED and MicroLED, all underpinned by chiplets and Red, Blue Green (RGB) pixels.”

You can read the rest of the market summary here … 

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