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The 2005 Lighting Survey

A disproportionate number of electric-sign companies report increased LED usage, but neon refuses to give any ground.

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The longer we conduct this annual lighting survey, the more the results become standardized. Yes, LEDs continue their incessant ascent, but the pace has slowed, and neon and fluorescents continue a sizeable dominance. Strangely, even though this survey shows LEDs’ increasing acceptance, virtually all of the comments at the end of this article are anti-LEDs.

With the exception of only two responses from companies with annual sales between $250,000 and $499,000, this survey includes a nice mix of different-sized companies. We received double-digit responses for five of the seven sales-volume categories.

Many of the numbers suggest huge sales-volume growth; however, a response from a $170 million sign company mushrooms many of the numbers found in Table 1 (Sales, Sales/Respondent and Electric-Sign Sales). In commentary on individual tables, we’ll offer alternative figures, minus the $170 million company, when appropriate.

For example, if we omit that company, the average sales per respondent remains more than $2.8 million, still significantly the second-highest average sales volume in the seven years of this study.

For the third consecutive year, we didn’t add any new questions, so every response can at least be evaluated in conjunction with two other years.

Overall, we saw very little change in the mix of illumination between fluorescents, neon and LEDs; none of their "marketshares" changed by more than 1.6%. However, white LEDs enjoyed a significant increase in usage, while the race between red neon and red LEDs is a virtual dead heat. As for sales in general, companies report steady, if unspectacular, growth.

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To view a full 2005 Lighting Survey, purchase a back issue of Signs of the Times, July 2006 magazine.

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TABLE 3: Lighting Expenditures (Equipment and Supplies)
Sales Volume Respondents Lighting Expenditures Average/Respondent
Less than $100,000 7 $89,000 $12,714
$100,000-249,999 7 $145,000 $24,250
$250,000-499,999 2 $160,000 $80,000
$500,000-999,999 15 $1,679,000 $111,933
$1,000,000-2,499,999 13 $1,897,000 $145,923
$2,500,000-4,999,999 7 $3,270,000 $467,143
More than $5 million 9 $6,100,000 $677,778
Unknown 1 $3,500 $3,500
Total 61 $13,569,000 $222,443
Total (2004) 33 $9,972,000 $302,181
Total (2003) 54 $4,179,708 $77,402

 

TABLE 12: Change in Neon/LED Usage
Sales Volume Respondents More Neon More LED No Change
Less than $100,000 5 0 1 4
$100,000-249,999 7 2 0 5
$250,000-499,999 5 0 0 2
$500,000-999,999 18 1 9 8
$1,000,000-2,499,999 14 2 8 4
$2,500,000-4,999,999 12 1 6 5
More than $5 million 13 0 9 4
Unknown 2 0 0 2
Total 73 6 (8.2%) 33 (45.2%) 34 (46.6%)
Total (2004) 43 3 (7.0%) 28 (65.1%) 12 (27.9%)
Total (2003) 69 11 (16.0%) 31 (44.9%) 27 (39.1%)

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