Nearly all market forecasts paint a positive picture on LEDs being used for general illumination. Market research firm Databeans Inc. expects the market for LED lighting applications, including white LEDs, to grow an average of 23% over the next several years. Worldwide sales this year alone will total $500 million, and LED revenues will hit $1.8 billion by 2013 (see the figure). The vast majority of such sales will be for high brightness white LEDs.

DisplaySearch breaks down the growth of LED displays into outdoor and backlighting usage. The company forecasts that 24 billion LEDs will be used for active outdoor displays by 2012. Together with 34 billion LEDs forecast for backlighting applications, the two applications will constitute a 34.7% share of the 167 billion LED units to be used worldwide by 2012.

According to ElectroniCast, residential and commercial/government exterior lighting fixtures (including landscaping, pools/fountains, buildings, bridges, architectural, and other general lighting applications) represented an 85% share of worldwide consumption of LEDs used for solid-state lighting in 2008. ElectroniCast pegs last year’s global use of solid-state LED lighting at $337.79 million, a figure that will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.9%, reaching $1.3 billion by 2013.

Strategies Unlimited is also bullish on the high-brightness LED lighting market. It reports that LED market growth for 2008 was 11%, reaching $5.1 billion despite a sluggish fourth quarter. Although it sees a slowdown in the market for this year, citing a $4.9 billion estimate, the firm forecasts a market growth upturn to the tune of 24% CAGR over the next few years.