Insights into the forces shaping our industry.

What We Don’t Know…Is a LOT


Global general lighting market was $37.5B in 2017, going to be $48.3B in 2023 (BCC Research)

Global LED lighting market was $26.09B in 2016, going to be $54.28B in 2022 (Zion Market Research)

Global Lighting fixture market to be $26B in 2017 and $75B in 2025 (Persistence Market Research)

Global LED lighting market was $16B in 2014, expected to be $45B in 2023 (HRDive)

US LED market was $29.65B in 2016, with 15% CAGR to 2016

Global installed LED lighting market will achieve $7.16B in 2018 and 4% growth in 2019 (LEDinside)

Global LED Lighting market will be at $105B in 2023 (Market Research future)

Global LED Lighting market will be $108.99B in 2025. Luminaires market was $10.63B in 2016. US Architectural LED lighting market was $790M in 2016 (Grand view Research)

Based on above, if I’m a $1B lighting corporation, reporting to shareholders on our success (or near demise), then I’d be able to confidently claim that our market share as a percent of global sales is, in order of the above market reports, anywhere from 2.7% in 2017, to 3.8% in 2016, 3.8% in 2017, 6.25% in 2014, 3.3% in 2016, 14% in 2018 and well under 1% in 2023 or 2025 unless we really pick up the pace. And if you’re a $1B lighting company, you’ve probably been a $1B company for a few years; plus or minus a couple of percents.

Now, I understand that the term “global LED market” may be inclusive or exclusive of differing categories; like LED packages, LED diodes, LED fixtures, LED light bulbs (lamps is a dead term, sorry lighting guys). So my point is…do we really ‘know’ the size of the market? And my honest answer is…no, and in fact it is unknowable.

But, we have this inherit desire to quantify something that can’t be quantified. I believe one can calculate the automobile market with reasonable accuracy, same for tons of steel produced and even the amount of corn we produce or consume. There are a finite number of LED reactors that actually create the LED diodes on wafers. The number of reactors is probably ‘knowable’ within some degree of error. But the production level of those reactors varies significantly, and most of those reactors are in China; where ‘market level’ knowledge may be suspect. And where the diodes go…lots of places that have little to do with the commercial lighting market.

In days of yore, the lighting market relied on the ballast manufacturers to declare how many ballasts they sold every year (and yes all companies report revenues to the IRS, but only a few companies report actual SKU-level information to NEMA). Ballasts provided a decent gut-level swag at the overall lighting market, and the NEMA members created their own swag of the ‘rest of the market’, outside of the participants within NEMA. In those days (pre-LED), the market share numbers were still very gross estimates. The market info on imports was limited, the sheer recognition of the number of lighting manufacturers in the US was grossly underestimated. BUT, the big guys mutually agreed as to the market size and presented their performance to their respective boards. As long as those ‘little guys’ didn’t grow proportionally faster, the market share slice was deemed accurate enough.

But the world changed. LED has enabled the start of nearly 1,000 new LED lighting companies, just in the US. Those companies are mostly small…but if 1,000 companies each sold $4M…that’s a $4B swing to the available market. And our interaction with these new companies is that they’re doing better than a $4M average running rate…the market has changed. New markets have emerged, new applications for lighting, new approaches, new channels and new solutions that can be provided by new entrants into a market that is now completely changed. But that’s just lighting. Technology, hiring practices, contracts, etc have changed throughout the electrical industry: power distribution, wire/cable, electrical distribution, design firms, contractors, etc.

All of the above is simply a metaphor for the title…think of how big our world has become and the number of new things, people or ideas that we simply don’t know. And put that unknown into a better frame of reference…it’s new opportunities, new markets, new partners, allies or competitors that you simply don’t know. The influx of technology, the creation of new markets, new channel partners, and new entrants throughout the electrical industry. Our industry is more vibrant than ever before.

We spend every day talking to clients that tell us they know everybody. Clients that tell us that they know the market for talent, or all of their competitors, or they know all the legal changes for employment: non-competes, compensation inquiry, background checks, and more. But, it’s all changed and it’s getting more complicated every day; which means more new things to learn and adapt to.

If you feel you know the market: do a quick gut-check, we have over 2,100  lighting companies in our database, we see GDPR and CCPA regulations coming down the road, we’ve stopped asking people how much money they make, we see gender equality rules and #MeToo impacts on client companies. Non-competes, non-disclosure agreements and compensation survey practices…have all changed. If you can confidently say you understand all of those changes…congratulations!

If you’re confused, or doubt that there are 2,100 lighting manufacturers, or you believe you can ask anyone for their compensation information, or don’t know what GDPR or CCPA stands for…  call us, there’s a reason we’ve been successful for 19 years…we’re here to help.

Egret is more than just a search firm.


professional recruiter electrical industry ted konnerth

Ted Konnerth, Egret Consulting Group’s founder and CEO, recruits on a retained basis, helping leaders in the electrical and lighting industry identify their next C and V-level hire. He is also the executive director for the International Retained Search Associates, allowing him to liaise with skilled recruiters around the globe. To learn more about how Ted can help your company attract talent view his biography, check him out on LinkedIn or email him at