CCFL and LED price gap closes as CCFL costs explode

-August 13, 2012

In spite of their implementation in high-profile applications (See LEDs score gold at Olympics), LED penetration has been slow.  CCFLs in economically trying times have kept their hold on consumers as the low-cost product of choice. It isn’t the glaring benefits of LEDs however, that have people taking another look at them. It’s the exploding costs now associated with manufacturing CCFLs.

The rare-earth metals used for CCFL phosphors jumped as much as 10x their 2010 price. Europium, for example, used as a phosphor in CCFLs saw price hikes of 170% in 2010. Predictably phosphor prices continued to use approximately 6x over 2010 levels.  Based on their increasing costs, demand has slowed for CCFLs, which also is pushing prices higher.  First Japan manufacturers dropped out and the Chinese and Korean manufacturers were able to hold CCFL prices steady even with raw-material costs continuing to rise.

CCFLs are under even more pressure as low-cost direct LED-backlit TVs made their way onto shelves. This is pressure is causing CCFL unit prices to rise which will put even more pressure on demand. Seems like this might give a bit more impetus to a long-awaited LED adoption surge.

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