Auckland, New Zealand – A recent survey commissioned by Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) shows that while New Zealand consumers now tend to opt for energy efficient light bulbs over traditional incandescent bulbs, they need more information and encouragement to make the shift from CFL light bulbs to LED for their homes. Philips’ release this month of its latest LED bulb range, with a further reduction in recommended retail prices across the range, provides consumers with another reason to move up the lighting technology curve.
“Philips’ innovation continues to drive affordability and choice in the consumer LED market,” says Philips Lighting New Zealand General Manager Gordon Wiffen. “The price of Philips’ LED light bulbs has been reducing year-on-year, and the latest range is priced at a level that narrows the cost differential between the price of CFL and LED bulbs and makes LED an even more competitive option for consumers that are seeking greater energy efficiency.”
The survey, conducted by GfK for Philips, shows that CFL bulbs are the type purchased most often (59%), with LEDs purchased less often (28%), and that the relatively higher upfront cost of LED bulbs has been a key concern for 39% of respondents. The survey also shows that there is some misunderstanding among consumers about LED light bulbs and their benefits that may be holding them back from making the switch to LED.
“The most surprising finding is that one of the concerns many consumers may have about buying LED light bulbs is that they will not last very long, and some are still not convinced about the energy efficiency benefits of LED bulbs for the home. In fact, the long lifespan of LED bulbs and their superior energy efficiency benefits are well established, if not well enough known,” said Mr Wiffen.
The EECA Energywise ‘Find the right light bulb’ calculator shows that using an LED bulb that delivers similar output to a conventional 60 watt incandescent bulb would save customers at least $14 per year in energy bills over the ten years plus lifetime of an LED. The calculator shows that while an energy efficient CFL bulb would deliver annual electricity cost savings of approximately $13.30, the expected lifespan of a CFL is only six to eight years.
With Philips’ new LED bulb range now priced from RRP $9.95, the relatively higher upfront cost of LED bulbs (compared to incandescent and CFL bulbs), is typically repaid by energy savings within about the first year, thereafter continuing to deliver cost savings through improved energy efficiency for many years. Philips LED bulbs are proven to last up to 15 times longer in residential use compared to the Philips Softone incandescent bulbs and almost twice as long in residential use than Philips CFL bulbs.
The survey also showed that there may be some misperceptions among consumers about the aesthetics of LED bulbs, both in terms of the way the bulbs look and the light quality they deliver. The reality is that Philips LED bulbs are shaped the same as traditional incandescent bulbs, and today are just as bright while drawing much less energy. LED bulbs also reach full brightness instantly and have a high colour rendering index, meaning that objects and colours look as they are meant to under their light.
“Consumers’ confusion about the light quality delivered by LED bulbs is not helped by the fact that people are accustomed to thinking about wattage as a measure of light output. Whereas, in fact, the wattage of a bulb represents the power consumed by the bulb not its brightness,” said Mr Wiffen.
The level of brightness of an LED light bulb is measured in lumens (lm); typically the higher the lumen output the brighter the light. For example, the Philips 806 lm LED bulb has similar lumens, or brightness, as that of a 60W incandescent light bulb, but uses less than 10 watts of electricity instead of the 60 watts of electricity that the 60W incandescent bulbs draw.
While Philips LED bulbs are compatible with most existing light fittings (available in screw or bayonet cap and in a range of styles) making it hassle-free to switch, the survey suggests some consumers may also not be aware of this.
“As an industry, we clearly have some work to do in continuing to educate consumers about LED lighting, particularly given that New Zealand does not have regulations in place to phase out incandescent lighting as other countries have to drive energy efficiency.
“While Philips has seen year-on-year increases in the sale of our LED bulb range, we anticipate the trend for growth in consumer uptake of LED for home lighting to continue, especially with the reduction in price of Philips’s LED bulb range and greater awareness of the benefits of LED technology,” said Mr Wiffen.
The new Philips LEDbulb range is available nationwide from PAK’n SAVE, New World, Countdown, Bunnings, and Mitre 10 stores priced from RRP $9.95 to RRP $19.95 including GST.
 27% of survey respondents are concerned LED bulbs will blow out/burn out quickly. GfK March 2015 consumer survey for Philips, p.32.