Lighting Equipment, NEC

SIC 3648

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This classification covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing miscellaneous lighting fixtures and equipment, electric and nonelectric, not elsewhere classified. Examples of such products include flashlights and similar portable lamps, searchlights, ultraviolet lamp fixtures, and infrared lamp fixtures. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing electric light bulbs, tubes, and related light sources are classified in SIC 3641: Electric Lamp Bulbs and Tubes. Those establishments producing glassware for lighting fixtures are classified in various glass manufacturing industries. Those establishments manufacturing traffic signals are classified in SIC 3669: Communications Equipment, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Industry Snapshot

The two major groupings in the miscellaneous lighting equipment industry are outdoor lighting equipment and electric and nonelectric equipment not elsewhere classified. The majority of products in this category are handheld, portable lighting equipment, such as flashlights and lanterns. The remainder of the market is highly fragmented among various electric and nonelectric devices. In the early 2010s, the outdoor lighting industry was represented by the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals.

In 2008, 299 companies operated 313 establishments in this $4.26 billion industry. About 15,800 people were employed in the industry, and 61 percent of these were production workers.

Background and Development

Late 1980s revenues of more than $1.8 billion per year for the miscellaneous lighting equipment industry (approximately 20 to 25 percent of total lighting equipment industry total) represented an average annual growth rate of more than eight percent between 1982 and 1988, when sales were about $1.0 billion. Strong commercial and residential construction markets boosted shipments through the late 1980s, but growth faltered in the early 1990s, as economic malaise and depressed construction sectors pinched profits. Recovering residential building and remodeling markets rejuvenated demand in 1992 and 1993, however, and these markets continued to improve through the mid-1990s.

Miscellaneous lighting equipment manufacturers tried to overcome analysts' predictions of slow 1990s growth by introducing new and better fixtures. Much of the emphasis was on devices that could reduce energy consumption and accommodate new, high-tech bulbs. The National Energy Security Act of 1992 actually mandated the use of more efficient bulbs and equipment. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency's voluntary "Green Light" conservation program encouraged corporations to install new, energy-efficient equipment and fixtures. In this changing environment, growth through the mid-1990s was stable, as the total value of shipments increased 22 percent from 1992 to reach $2.4 billion in 1994. The industry exported about $540.0 million in goods that year. In 1997, the value of shipments grew to about $3.1 billion.

As with most manufacturing industries, the lighting equipment sector suffered a downturn during the early part of the 2000s, due to general economic downturn and lowered consumer spending. By the middle of the decade, projections were for increased demand for outdoor lighting.

Current Conditions

Most of the establishments involved in manufacturing in the United States suffered from the economic recession that began in 2008. However, some expressed hopes for a recovery in the early 2010s. Much of the growth in the lighting industry was focused on the use of the light-emitting diode (LED), a semiconductor light source that was considered a "greener" energy source than the traditional light bulb. Although more expensive than regular light bulbs, LEDs were more energy efficient and durable, longer-lasting, and smaller than other lights. By the late 2000s, LEDs were being used in everything from TVs and cell phones to car dashboards and traffic lights. The LED's small size and reduced need for power also made it popular for use in handheld devices such as flashlights.

The outdoor lighting industry was also making use of the LED. According to a November 2009 Crain's Detroit Business article, "Federal stimulus money will continue to pour into clean tech. Indirect beneficiaries will be those who make components for the LED outdoor lighting industry."

Industry Leaders

Industry leaders in the early 2010s included Fountain Valley, California-based SureFire LLC, maker of high-powered flashlights and other illumination tools for such clients as law enforcement officers, the military, fire fighters and other emergency workers, and the outdoor recreation industry. Steamlight Inc. of Eagleville, Pennsylvania, also supplied these industries and manufactured lights for outdoor lighting and automobile applications. Streamlight had revenues of $32.4 million in 2009. Founded in 1955, Mag Instrument Inc. is credited with the invention of the anodized aluminum flashlight. Still owned by founder Tony Maglica and based in Ontario, California, Mag Instrument employed 910 workers in 2010.


Although industry employment grew during the 1980s, productivity gains and the transfer of many manufacturing activities to low-cost foreign producers contributed to job losses for several occupations. In 2008, the number of workers employed by this industry totaled 15,800, down from 19,100 in 2002. While most blue-collar opportunities were expected to wane, jobs for specialized groups like industrial machinery mechanics were projected to increase. Prospects also were good for sales and marketing positions. Overall, employment projections for the electric lighting equipment manufacturing industry was for a slow but steady decline into 2018.

© COPYRIGHT 2018 The Gale Group, Inc. This material is published under license from the publisher through the Gale Group, Farmington Hills, Michigan. All inquiries regarding rights should be directed to the Gale Group. For permission to reuse this article, contact the Copyright Clearance Center.

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