Residential Electric Lighting Fixtures

SIC 3645

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

The residential electric lighting fixtures industry encompasses manufacturers that produce a variety of equipment and components for home use. Popular offerings include chandeliers, desk and floor lamps, glass and metal lamp shades, yard lights, and wall-mounted lighting fixtures. Light bulbs, cloth and plastic lamp shades, flashlights, and lanterns are classified in other industries.

In 2009 shipment values for the residential electric lighting fixture industry were $1.4 billion, down significantly from $2.2 billion in 2008. General home improvement centers and specialty lighting stores commanded more than three-quarters of total residential lighting fixture sales. About 57 percent of sales were attributed to what the U.S. Census Bureau classified as "portable" light fixtures, such as table lamps, floor lamps, and shades, among others, and 33 percent was considered nonportable, including ceiling light fixtures, chandeliers, florescent lighting.

The first lighting apparatus pre-dates the light bulb. In 1650, German Otto von Guericke produced a luminous glow from a spinning globe of sulfur. However, the evolution of modern day lamps and fixtures parallels the popularization of the electric light bulb, which Thomas Edison invented in 1879. Rapid demand for all types of lighting devices helped the residential lighting fixture industry grow to a $1.4 billion business by the early 1980s.

Industry revenues grew sluggishly during the 1980s, despite healthy residential construction markets. Increased foreign competition was a primary reason for stagnant sales. Although revenues reached about $1.8 billion by 1988, the industry suffered a severe commercial development depression that stalled housing starts in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Sales plummeted about 16 percent between 1988 and 1990 to $1.6 billion.

New home construction buoyed sales to about $1.6 billion in 1992 and to $1.8 billion by 1993. In the mid-1990s, the industry benefited from the passage of nationwide energy initiatives and legislation. The National Energy Security Act of 1992 mandated the use of new energy-saving bulbs, and the EPA's "Green Lights" program encouraged companies to install new energy-efficient lighting fixtures and related products. Many U.S. residential lighting fixture producers rejuvenated lagging margins with sales of the new energy-saving lighting equipment, while others sought profit growth through mergers and acquisitions. The number of companies dwindled from about 650 in the early 1980s to 498 in 1994, as companies combined forces to survive declining demand.

Despite consolidation, the residential lighting fixture industry remained fragmented in the late 1990s and early years of the first decade of the 2000s. There were approximately 407 companies manufacturing products for this industry in 2007, and two-thirds employed fewer than 25 workers.

Job growth for most occupations in this industry remained stagnant through the first decade of the 2000s. Aggregate employment fell from about 22,000 in the early 1980s to about 19,000 in 1995 and to 15,700 in 2002 as a result of workforce reductions and manufacturing productivity gains. Employment fell further to a total of 11,927 in 2007, with these workers earning more than $416 million in wages.

Current Conditions

According to Dun & Bradstreet, 664 establishments engaged in manufacturing residential electric lighting fixtures and equipment in the United States in 2010. Together these firms generated $739 million in annual sales and employed 12,885 people. A majority of businesses were small, with 68 percent employing fewer than 10 workers. States with the most establishments in this industry included California, Florida, and New York. California accounted for the highest percentage of sales with $152.9 million in 2010.

In 2011 the Freedonia Group predicted that the U.S. demand for lighting fixtures would grow 4.8 percent annually, reaching $21.9 billion in 2014. Residential lighting fixtures were expected to be the second-fastest growing segment of the lighting fixture industry behind vehicle lighting. IBISWorld reported that "Investment in residential construction activity is set to improve steadily, causing demand to rise and consumer confidence to build." Although LED lighting fixtures were growing in popularity due to their energy efficiency and ever-expanding features, the commercial segment was embracing the technology more quickly than U.S. consumers, partly due to the cost of LEDs.

The United States continued to import much more than it exported in the lighting fixture industry at the end of the first decade of the 2000s and early 2010s. The International Trade Administration reported that imports were worth about $1.4 billion in 2009, whereas exports totaled only $118 million. Most of the exports went to Canada, and a large majority of the imports came from China.

Industry Leaders

One of the industry leaders in the early 2010s was Acuity Brands Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia, which produced lighting fixtures for both commercial and residential customers. Sales for the company were $1.6 billion in 2010 with 6,000 employees in 12 plants in the United States and Mexico, as well as two in Europe. Osram Sylvania of Danvers, Massachusetts, had $2 billion in 2010 sales with 7,400 employees and operated 22 manufacturing plants in North America, Puerto Rico, and Germany. In addition, the large and diversified General Electric participated in the residential sector through its GEAL division (formerly GE Consumer & Industrial), as did Philips Lighting Co., a subsidiary of Royal Philips Electronics, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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