The rise of LED lighting. It was one of main talking points at this year’s Euroshop Trade Fair. Pioneering retailers have shown us just how much LED technology can be used to drive innovation and ultimately, increase revenue. But how much of a correlation is there between lighting and retail sales? Research suggests that there is a strong one.

In 2010, a group of Dutch researchers set out to measure the impact of lighting on customer buying behaviour. Half of a supermarket was lit using LED’s while the other half was lit with traditional fluorescents. A tracking system in customers’ shopping baskets traced buying habits such as the amount of time shoppers spent in certain parts of the supermarket as well as their movements around the store. The result? The LED-lit portion of the store sold 2% more products per customer over the study period. A 2% variable may not sound overwhelming, but the study did go a long way in showing that LED’s are at least in part stimulants for positive buying decicions amongst consumers. And for some retailers, that’s all the evidence that’s needed.

The Future Looks Bright

Forbes has predicted that the LED market will continue to grow throughout the next decade, with global LED market share reaching about 70% by 2020. Up until fairly recently, the use of LED technology was restricted to the realm of stage lighting, but in recent times, with global pressure to become more energy efficient, its applications have increased. LED’s are now seen as viable and indeed, more effective long-term replacements for conventional lighting.

As a report by McKinsey puts it: “the significant differences in LED technology versus other lighting technologies will lead to a fundamental disruption of the lighting industry along the entire value chain.”

Let’s take a look at the reasons behind why LED lighting is taking centrestage in retail.

● Energy-Efficiency and the Bigger Picture
Today’s shopfitters, interior decorators and architects are more concerned with how to save energy that ever before. This is driven by both economic motivations and the bigger picture – a global effort is needed to conserve energy and precious natural resources. This is where LED technology comes in. Its estimated energy efficiency is 80% – 90% when compared to traditional lighting sources. Its longer operational lifespan contributes to this exemplary level of efficiency. Ecologically, LED lighting is a move towards a greener future, as it is free of toxic chemicals like mercury, which is a potential environmental threat. Also, its recyclable nature goes a long way in reducing carbon footprint.

● Adaptability is the Key
LED lighting technology provides for a level of adaptability that was previously unimagined. From colour variations to differences in temperature and light strength, LED’s can be manipulated to suit any interior environment or purpose. From general lighting to ambient illumination, there are lighting options powered by LED technology that can get the job done. Its inherent compatibility with controls makes this technology ideal for integration with smart devices – the universal trend towards the more intuitive use of lighting is contributing to the increase of smart homes that give owners full control of their interior technology. In retail, LED lighting can be optimised to highlight and accentuate specific items at precisely the correct temperature and warmth, from groceries to fashion focused window displays.

● Maintenance Costs Plummet in the Long Term
LED technology requires an investment – it tends to cost more than incandescent and fluorescent options at the outset, but the long term financial benefits far outweigh the initial payment. LED lights last 25 times longer than their incandescent counterparts and they are far more durable. In a retail environment, this reduces the need for professional call-outs for ongoing maintenance and the savings add up in the long run. Furthermore, LED lighting uses 50% less electricity than other lighting – an important feature in retail environments where lights remain operational for extended periods of time. Quality LEDs have an extimated lifespan of 30,000–50,000 hours or even more.

● LED’s Love the Outdoors
Think about the fragility of the average conventional light bulb. This exterior vulnerability to the elements is all but elimated with LED technology. Without filaments or glass enclosers, LED’s are breakage resistant, making them ideal for use outdoors. In a retail environment, it’s the technology of choice for signage and architectural lighting. With the latest advancements in this technology, the components used to make LED’s are able to withstand vibrations, external impacts, adverse weather conditions and public exposure. LED technology also operates optimally at cold temperatures. Think refrigerated cabinet displays in supermarkets and exposed parking lots. The applications are endless.

Have you seen our Recessed LED luminaire range? We also manufacture LED power rails. We’re ready to tailor-make a solution for your environment – chat to us about the options.