OLED lighting 2019: out with the old, in with the new

OLED is an amazing technology for lighting - it creates beautiful, efficient and healthy light sources. OLED lighting has great promise but unfortunately the high price of production is a challenge that no one has managed to overcome and OLED lighting remains a small niche industry as of 2019.

In the early years, several large lighting makers (including GE, Philips, OSRAM, Panasonic, NEC and others) had active OLED lighting programs, but slowly almost all of these companies dropped out of the market - for various reasons - but the main one being that the large investments in large scale production are not certified to lead to market adoption and the competition with LED lighting is extremely difficult.

The larger lighting makers have pulled out of the market, but lately we see smaller companies that have entered the market, with aims to become lighting producers. In recent months we have heard that PMOLED maker RiTDisplay is now starting to produce OLED lighting panels, and Taiwan's material maker LumTec has also constructed an OLED lighting production line and is now producing panels. This is a very interesting development and time will tell whether these smaller producers will be able to turn a profit with their limited production and investment potential.

Other active OLED lighting makers include OLEDWorks, which is a leader in the field but is still producing in very small volume, China's First-o-Lite and Konica Minolta which still struggles with technical challenges and with constant re-organizations.

The OLED lighting market in general is still extremely small, and real mass production has yet to start. All remaining companies focus on niche markets - such as automotive lighting, health lighting and premium commercial installations. Following LG Display's withdrawal from the consumer lighting market, it doesn't seem like there is any chance of large volume OLED lighting production in coming years. It was always assumed that prices will have to drop dramatically before mass adoption, and this is not likely to happen before mass production is achieve (LGD hoped that its 5-Gen production line will reduce production costs by more than 90%).

The main market where most OLED lighting makers pin their hope on is the automotive market. Several car makers already adopted taillights OLED lighting in some high-end car models (mostly as optional extra, though), but we have yet to see real adoption in meaningful volumes - which will hopefully start next year. It will be interesting to see whether increased adoption in the automotive market could eventually lead to large scale production and entry into other markers such as commercial or consumer lighting.

Posted: Aug 11,2019 by Ron Mertens


As an ardent OLED lighting advocate I am still hopeful that millions of these units will be sold.The quality of the illumination, the logical design, the cool factor it's being ignored by most...and that's a shame

I'll keep buying them,using them & praising them, I wish others would do likewise.