Consumer choices in light bulbs for their homes have changed significantly over the past few years, and they appear to be doing so again.
Compact fluorescent lamp bulbs, the market leader since most incandescent bulbs were phased out in 2014, are gradually giving way to LED lights, those semiconductor devices best known for their use in traffic signals and electronic appliances.
A new survey commissioned by the lighting product manufacturer Osram Sylvania shows LED light bulbs gaining on CFLs as consumers increasingly buy them and find them preferable.
“LED awareness and use is changing,” said the company’s seventh annual “Socket Survey,” which was conducted earlier this year by the firm KRC Research. “While in past surveys LEDs fell behind other types of bulbs, the 2015 survey reveals that now more are aware of LED light bulbs and purchasing them for their homes.”
CFLs remain the bulb of choice for most consumers, despite complaints about their light quality (they illuminate gradually) and the small amount of mercury that they contain.
Fifty-three percent of those polled reported having bought CFLs for their homes in the past year, compared to 41 percent who had purchased LED bulbs.
But survey results also indicate that CFLs may lose that lead in the not too distant future. The spiral lights were the preference for 37 percent of the respondents when they buy bulbs again, with LED lights were just behind, at 35 percent.
Among non-LED users, CFLs are the top choice for replacement bulbs (45 percent), with only 18 percent indicating they would purchase LED bulbs an alternative. However, among LED users, 44 percent would most likely buy LED bulbs again.
“This indicates a loyalty to LEDs once Americans are a user, but hesitation at initially switching,” the survey said. “One possible explanation for this hesitation to switch to LED bulbs could be price – nearly one of three of non-LED users do not think the initial cost of LED bulbs are worth it.”
Interest in LED lights is likely to grow even more as consumers look closer at the efficiency and expected lifetime of the bulbs compared to CFLs and those disappearing incandescent bulbs.
Government statistics put the annual cost of using a 60-watt-equivalent LED for three hours a day at $1.02, compared to $1.57 for a CFL and $7.23 for an incandescent bulb.
It all adds up, especially when you consider that LEDs are expected to last years longer than CFLs.
Excerpt from USA TODAY