Sylvania Annual Socket Survey Shows CFL / LED Battle to Replace Incandescent

socket survey graphic

For the last 7 years Osram Sylvania has published results from what they call the “socket survey”. To be clear, this survey focuses on the adoption of LED light bulbs that replace traditional light sources in the home. In addition, the survey attempts to understand what factors motivate buyers to start using LED bulbs.

The 2015 survey has just been published. Here is a summary of the findings, followed by a few interesting details:

(1) Purchasing Insights: The most common place consumers get information about LED bulbs is at the point-of-purchase from retail product presentation information (including packaging) and customer service staff.

(2) Bulb Evolution Insights: Brightness and bulb longevity are the most important factors for consumers when evaluating light bulb options.

(3) Bulb Usage: Following the phase-out of common household incandescent bulbs, consumers have been most likely to switch to CFL bulbs (41%), secondarily to LED bulbs (30%).

(4) LED Bulbs: A majority of consumers, 65%, reported having purchased LED light bulbs for their homes. Of the respondents who were identified as LED users, the most valued benefits of making the switch were reduced energy consumption (96%), longer bulb lifespan (93%), and operating cost savings (93%).

(5) CFL Bulbs: CFLs are the main competitor to LED light bulbs as the successor to the incandescent bulb. Currently, consumers are equally likely to say they will purchase a CFL or LED bulb the next time they need a replacement.

Additional Survey Details Reveal Trends

Despite nearly all consumers being aware of LED light bulbs (99% have heard of them), more consumers are buying other types of bulbs. For example, 92% of Americans have purchased incandescent light bulbs (common wattages may still be available, but most inventories have been depleted) for their homes, and 81% have purchased CFLs, while just 65% have purchased LED light bulbs. While this is likely for a variety of reasons, the initial cost of an LED light bulb could be turning consumers off, as price remains a top purchase consideration for bulbs.

While initial purchase price may still be a hurdle, the survey showed that for the first time, LED bulbs purchased in 2015 were being used more in table lamps, floor lamps and other household light fixtures (64%) than in holiday lights (35%) and electronics (32%).

Perhaps the most important finding – particularly as it stands in contrast to image issues for CFL bulbs in the early years of their availability – is that most consumers have positive opinions of LED light bulbs. Even non-LED users communicate strong positives about LED lighting with the most doubt associated with initial cost.

Download the 2015 Sylvania Socket Survey results which contain additional details and a section on consumer opinions about “smart lighting” technologies.

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Dave Burtner

Dave has been active in the lighting industry since 1994. Formerly a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and certified by the National Council On Qualifications for Lighting Professionals, Dave now writes blog posts, lighting tips and provides lighting product assistance for the Topbulb website.

One thought on “Sylvania Annual Socket Survey Shows CFL / LED Battle to Replace Incandescent

  1. Tom Dale. says:

    My Grandson fitted 10 —2 pin & 6 —2 pin Dimmable
    When using the dimmer there was constant flickering less when fully up or down, all on the same circuit. The non dimmable were on 2 circuits, 4 & 6 lights shortly after fitting 2 in each started flashing and are no longer active. The 4 group when the switch is off still glow. Are these problems normal.
    Thank you.

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